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Catholics and several Protestant denominations (and maybe even Orthodox churches) practice Infant Baptism, while many other Protestant denominations do not.

This question addressed the argument for Infant Baptism. So, what is the argument against it? That is, "Why is Infant Baptism considered to be invalid by many denominations?

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By the way, good question. –  Josiah Jan 17 '13 at 21:32
    
Related question: christianity.stackexchange.com/q/7560/971 –  Eric Jan 17 '13 at 22:21
    
Because they don't know or care about church history and have no problem claiming everyone was wrong until their movement came along. Something tells me that wouldn't be a good answer so I'll just comment. –  user3797 Jan 19 '13 at 15:13
    
Many denominations have differing opinions on the concept of "coming of age" - where one has the rational thought required to make such a commitment. The interpretations of the verses already listed in the answers may be stretched to reduce the age as low as the church feels necessary. In many cases, subject completely to personal conclusion, the churches ensure a higher subscription rate for those who inherit beliefs. Being against it may mean you desire members who made their choices based on their own personal search for the truth and not one that was handed to them. –  Bubbles Jun 6 at 0:43

4 Answers 4

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In order to be saved, one must follow the order of salvation that the scriptures set forward. Romans 10:14 tells us that the order is 1) preach, 2) hear, 3) believe, and 4) call upon the name of the Lord (baptism, Acts 22:16). Acts 2:38 tells us that repentance comes before baptism, and Romans 10:10 tells us that confession comes after belief.

But let's look at this logically. How could one believe something that they can not understand or even know about? That does not make any sense. That is the reason.

Many other denominations use infant baptism for the parent's benefit. It is a proof that they WILL help their child grow and believe. Then later, in some denominations, the child is re-baptized.

However, the argument against it is simply because the Bible says you must believe before baptism. Those who hold to this belief will follow this standard, and consider baptism invalid.

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Wow, I didn't see your answer - and I nearly copied it word for word. Great answer! –  Affable Geek Jan 17 '13 at 22:09
    
@AffableGeek, Why thank you. :) –  Josiah Jan 17 '13 at 22:45

Why is the New Testament silent on Infant Baptism?

Baptist/evangelical response:

The reason there is no mention of infant baptism in the New Testament is because this practice is a Catholic invention that developed two to three centuries after the Apostles. The Bible states that sinners must believe and repent before being baptized. Infants do not have the mental maturity to believe or to make a decision to repent. If God had wanted infants to be baptized he would have specifically mentioned it in Scripture. Infant baptism is NOT scriptural.

Lutheran response:

When God made his covenant with Abraham, God included everyone in Abraham's household in the covenant:

  1. Abraham, the head of the household.
  2. His wife.
  3. His children: teens, toddlers, and infants
  4. His servants and their wives and children.
  5. His slaves and their wives and children.

Genesis records that it was not just Abraham who God required to be circumcised. His son, his male servants, and his male slaves were all circumcised; more than 300 men and boys.

Did the act of circumcision save all these people and give them an automatic ticket into heaven? No. Just as in the New Covenant, it is not the sign that saves, it is God's declaration that saves, received in faith. If these men and boys grew in faith in God, they would be saved. If they later rejected God by living a life of willful sin, they would perish.

This pattern of including the children of believers in God's covenant continued for several thousand years until Christ's resurrection. There is no mention in the OT that the children of the Hebrews were left out of the covenant until they reached an Age of Accountability, at which time they were required to make a decision: Do I want to be a member of the covenant or not? And only if they made an affirmative decision were they then included into God's covenant. Hebrew/Jewish infants and toddlers have ALWAYS been included in the covenant. There is zero evidence from the OT that says otherwise.

Infants WERE part of the covenant. If a Hebrew infant died, he was considered "saved".

However, circumcision did NOT "save" the male Hebrew child. It was the responsibility of the Hebrew parents to bring up their child in the faith, so that when he was older "he would not depart from it". The child was born a member of the covenant. Then, as he grew up, he would have the choice: do I want to continue placing my faith in God, or do I want to live in willful sin? If he chose to live by faith, he would be saved. If he chose to live a life of willful sin and never repented, and then died, he would perish.

When Christ established the New Covenant, he said nothing explicit in the New Testament about the salvation of infants and small children; neither do the Apostles nor any of the writers of the New Testament. Isn't that odd? If the new Covenant no longer automatically included the children of believers, why didn't Christ, one of the Apostles, or one of the writers of the NT mention this profound change?

Why is there no mention in the NT of any adult convert asking this question: "But what about my little children? Are you saying that I have to wait until my children grow up and make a decision for themselves, before I will know if they will be a part of the new faith? What happens if my child dies before he has the opportunity to make this decision?" But no, there is no record in Scripture that any of these questions are made by new converts to the new faith. Isn't that really, really odd??? As a parent of small children, the FIRST question I would ask would be, "What about my little children?"

But the New Testament is completely silent on the issue of the salvation or safety of the infants and toddlers of believers. Another interesting point is this: why is there no mention of any child of believers "accepting Christ" when he is an older child (8-12 years old) or as a teenager and then, being baptized? Not one single instance and the writing of the New Testament occurred over a period of 30 years, approximately thirty years after Christ's death: So over a period of 60 years, not one example of a believer's child being saved as a teenager and then receiving "Believers Baptism". Why???

So isn't it quite likely that the reason God does not explicitly state in the NT that infants should be baptized, is because everyone in first century Palestine would know that infants and toddlers are included in a household conversion. That fact that Christ and the Apostles did NOT forbid infant baptism was understood to indicate that the pattern of household conversion had not changed: the infants and toddlers of believers are still included in this new and better covenant.

Circumcision nor Baptism was considered a "Get-into-heaven-free" card. It was understood under both Covenants that the child must be raised in the faith, and that when he was older, he would need to decide for himself whether to continue in the faith and receive everlasting life, or choose a life of sin, breaking the covenant relationship with God, and forfeiting the gift of salvation.

Which of these two belief systems seems to be most in harmony with Scripture and the writings of the Early Christians?

Gary Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

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Welcome to the site. This is pretty good for a first post. +1. This answer would be even better if you linked to a few official sources like the WCF for your Lutheran answer. We have tour and help center pages that will help beginners like you. We also have a meta site where we discuss site policy. You can see this post and the ones linked there for specific things. I hope to see you again soon. –  fredsbend Sep 1 '13 at 0:43
    
Catholic invention! I like that. –  Matt Jun 6 at 0:31

Infant baptising Protestants hold that baptism is the sign and entry into the New Covenant. They assume/hold that the Jewish boy circumcision (Old Covenant) was replaced with baptism in the new covenant. That is why they deem it acceptable to baptise babies. To answer this question we have to take one step back.

Those who hold to believers baptism(this could include children that have faith) believe:

That Faith is the entry into the New Covenant as the bible says in 1Cor 1:21-24

That the physical circumcision of the Old covenant was replaced with a spiritual circumcision, that happens when you come to faith(Col2:11/12).

That the seal of the new covenant is the Holy Spirit (Ef 4:30, Ef 1:13, Rev 9:4)

Faith is the only acceptable means into the covenant for first, second, etc generations.

That all the evidence in the early church and the New Testament show that baptism happened straight after coming to faith, and it was a testimony and image of what already happened spiritually (from death to life, and sins forgiven..).

So in summary they link salvation to faith, and they feel that baptism before faith leads to "christening" the act of making people Christians by baptism and not personal Faith.

They also believe that those practising infant baptism elevate the act to idolatry(because they open/imply a false door to salvation), where faith is the only way.

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The Protestant denominations that reject infant baptism reject it because they believe that baptism is the mark of justification, whereas biblically we know that election is the mark of justification.

Baptism is only an acknowledgement that the candidate is entitled to drink from the Rock :

1 Corinthians 10:1-6 NET For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness. These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did.

Children are automatically included in the table fellowship from birth, moving from milk food to solid food. At the appropriate time, Christians, both born believers and converts will be "called", but only a few are "chosen" :

Matthew 22:11-14 NET But when the king came in to see the wedding guests, he saw a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But he had nothing to say. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Hebrews 2:1-4 NET Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken through angels proved to be so firm that every violation or disobedience received its just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first communicated through the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard him, while God confirmed their witness with signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Israel witnessed the signs that confirmed Moses's message. Based on that they left serving Egypt. While learning to serve God, they felt it too uncertain and hard, even though God promised to place them in a land filled with milk and honey. Their unbelief led to hardening and rejection. Caleb's belief led to strengthening and election.

Hebrews 3:7-14, 16-19 NET Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks! “Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of testing in the wilderness. “There your fathers tested me and tried me,and they saw my works for forty years. “Therefore, I became provoked at that generation and said, ‘Their hearts are always wanderingand they have not known my ways.’ “As I swore in my anger, ‘They will never enter my rest!’” See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes the living God. But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception. For we have become partners with Christ, if in fact we hold our initial confidence firm until the end. For which ones heard and rebelled? Was it not all who came out of Egypt under Moses’ leadership? And against whom was God provoked for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose dead bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear they would never enter into his rest, except those who were disobedient? So we see that they could not enter because of unbelief.

Summary

Baptism is the invitation that a person can fellowship in the Body of Christ, extended to both children and converts. Later, the call is to discipleship, to overcome the enemy and enter God's rest. Many are called, but only a few are chosen. If you want to be chosen, believe! Believe God's rest is a land of milk and honey. Then your eyes will be opened.

Galatians 3:2 NET The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?

John 3:3 NET Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:6-7 NET What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’

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