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?

  • Related question: christianity.stackexchange.com/q/7560/971
    – user971
    Jan 17, 2013 at 22:21
  • 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, 2014 at 0:43
  • @Narnian For one thing Matthew 28:19 says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is disciples that should be baptized to identify with Christ's death and resurrection. Obviously babies cannot do that. Also, there is nothing wrong with parents dedicating their child to the Lord. The purpose of the ceremony is for believing parents to make a commitment before the Lord to submit a child to God's will and to raise the child according to God's Word and ways. This has nothing to do with water baptism.
    – Mr. Bond
    Jul 31, 2023 at 20:45
  • Wow, this is an old question to come up on the front page. Surprising that the answers don't include the simplest point: many Protestant denominations do not believe that baptism is effective at all, i.e., they don't believe it is a sacrament, or confers grace, or cleanses one of sin, or has any other effect. If it has no effect, then the question of whether it is "valid" is a moot point, and you wouldn't engage in the practice except as a custom or social activity.
    – workerjoe
    Aug 2, 2023 at 13:39

3 Answers 3


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.


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


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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