Skip to comments.Infant Baptism
Posted on 09/02/2009 10:13:08 AM PDT by NYer
Ive spent most of my life conflicted over baptism, not about whether or not one should be baptized, but about the proper age for baptism.
My parents dedicated me when I was an infant. Back then, Dad pastored a Wesleyan church and the denomination believed that baptism was for those who had reached the age of accountability and could personally choose to be baptized. They believed that dedication is something parents do for their child and that baptism is something the individual chooses for himself. The denomination based its theology on the fact that the New Testament seemed to indicate that baptism was for adults who decided to follow Jesus Christ.
When I was about thirteen, my father was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. During the years preceding his ordination, he had revisited the question of infant baptism and found something interesting in a particular passage in the New Testament in which it states that entire households were baptized and not simply the adults (Acts 18:8). Dad showed the passage to my mother and indicated to her that they might be wrong in their rejection of infant baptism. From that point forward, they embraced infant baptism, but as an adult, I continued to flip flop in my beliefs.
After years of vacillation, I decided it didnt really matter whether couples baptized or dedicated their babies. To each his own — that was my philosophy. For the most part, I thought everything was fine as long as the child eventually embraced the faith.
And then I began attending RCIA classes.
For me, the single most persuasive argument for infant baptism came from the Old Testament. Abraham obeyed God, and all infant males were circumcised on the eighth day — without their choosing it for themselves because that was how one was marked as being a member of the chosen people. When circumcision was instituted, there were many adult males who had never been circumcised. These grown men made up the majority of those circumcised — at first. I realized that this is how it would have been when Jesus instituted the sacrament of baptism. Initially, the majority of those to follow the Lord in this sacrament would have been adults but once the sacrament was embraced by a people, the majority of those presented for baptism would be infants. It just made sense. Further study of Old Testament prefigurements (baby Moses floating on the Nile, Noahs entire family saved in the flood, the saving of the first born male through the Passover lamb) seemed to create a beautiful case for infant baptism.
Finally, I thought about Jesus words in the Gospel of John (3:5), I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. And a passage in the first book of Peter tells us that, just as the eight (Noah and his family) were saved through water, so too we are saved through the waters of baptism (3:20-21).
It seemed that Jesus Christ wanted adults, children and babies of all ages to come to Him (with no age restriction), and that it was important to call the sacrament by the name Jesus gave it: Baptism. I thought I had more than enough to settle the question, but Our Lord has continued to underscore this teaching for me.
Denominations that hold to adult baptism do so because they believe an individual should choose for himself to follow Christ. So, the key point for some Protestants is that baptism should be meaningful to the one being baptized.
Heres what Ive learned. Every time a Catholic dips his fingers into the font and crosses himself, he remembers and embraces his baptismal vows for himself . Every time he enters the season of Lent and asks for sufficient grace to die to self, he embraces the vows of baptism for himself . Every time he picks up the cross — through suffering or death — he embraces the vows of baptism for himself . In fact, everything we do as Catholics from cradle to grave is done because we have been baptized into Christ Jesus.
49 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1608.
50 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 68,8.
“Every time a Catholic dips his fingers into the font and crosses himself, he remembers and embraces his baptismal vows for himself”
Then were little children presented to him, that he should impose hands upon them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such. And when he had imposed hands upon them, he departed from thence.
I have a minister friend who has a biker church twice a month that I attend. He performed my wife and I’s wedding. I asked him about baptizing our son when he was an infant and he said it wasn’t biblical. I was baptized as an infant and I did a little investigating on the subject and found this;http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/catechism/web/cat-13a.html.
I don’t know if it changed my friends mind but I do know it got him to think about it.
Gospel of John (3:5): I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
My stepfather has never been baptized. He is a good man from christian stock and my incessant prayer is that he will be baptized before he dies.
Could one of you that know the bible give me some examples of when Christ baptist with water. Thanks
Baptism has a twofold meaning: remission of sin and death and rebirth as a new creature. None of these, logically, require active participation of will. The idea that repentance is intrinsically connected to baptism is absurd. We cannot remit our sins, die and be reborn no matter how hard we try even as adults.
When you read verse 4 you see that Christ was not at all talking of baptism but of natural birth.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
You mean Christ personally? He didn’t baptize anyone so far as we know. The Apostles did, on His command, — I am sure you are aware of the scripture references to that. At least two I can think of specifically mention water.
Thanks for the info but that has nothing to do with my question. Your reply is appreciated anyway :)
Thank you that answers my question, it appears that Christ saved no one while on earth.
John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But One is coming who is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
In John 1:32, when Jesus was baptized, He was baptized in the water and the Spirit, which descended upon Him in the form of a dove. The Holy Spirit and water are required for baptism. Also, Jesus baptism was not the Christian baptism He later instituted. Jesus baptism was instead a royal anointing of the Son of David (Jesus) conferred by a Levite (John the Baptist) to reveal Christ to Israel, as it was foreshadowed in 1 Kings 1:39 when the Son of David (Solomon) was anointed by the Levitical priest Zadok. See John 1:31; cf. Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21.
We also see in John 3:3,5 that Jesus says, "Truly, truly, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." When Jesus said "water and the Spirit," He was referring to baptism (which requires the use of water, and the work of the Spirit).
Really? How about this:
Mat 23:9 And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
Perhaps Jesus had something in mind? His reference is to a spritual leader being referred to as 'father' which is precisely what Catholics do.
His words in John 3:5 speak of a physical birth and a spiritual birth. The former is what all of us go through, the latter only what believers go through. Baptism in water is not a requirement for salvation, it is the first act of obedience. The context of the passage is given in the next:
Jhn 3:6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
Christ never baptised anyone, teaching His disciples to baptise as John had. It was a symbolic gesture to inform the Jews that they were distinguishing themselves from the old covenenat and becoming aligned with the new. In essence, dying to the world and becoming alive to God.
Oops, I’m sorry. I meant that comment for the OP.
So you don’t call your father or grandfather such, or even “poppy,” “pa,” or similar words? Those all have their origin in the Latin word “pater,” which means “father.”
So many strawmen, so little time.
The CONTEXT is spritual leader. Christ is specifically refuting a Pharasitical habit of calling the leaders "Rabbi", "Father", "Teacher" in matters dealing with scriptural teaching and mentoring.
Is this a difficult concept for you?