This question is a follow-up to this answer. In this particular answer the biblical basis for baptism being non-requisite for salvation is given. Essentially it is a defense of the doctrine that you are saved by faith alone; baptism seen as an act outside of saving faith. The part of the answer that is the subject of this question is this:

what applied to circumcision (it follows salvation, which is by faith) applies to baptism

Colossians 2:11-12 is given as the basis for thinking of circumcision as foreshadowing baptism.

So my question is if what applied to circumcision applies to baptism, why are infants not baptized? If the answer is that infants can't be confirmed to be saved before infant baptism, then why is circumcision linked to baptism?

In order to be on topic this question must be directed at a specific group. So I ask this question of Protestant Evangelicals specifically since the article quoted in the answer that raised my question appears to be written by a Protestant Evangelical Christian (Matt Slick). Besides, most high church Protestants do practice infant baptism, so I think this question is confined to PE churches.

I did read some of the article by Mr. Slick, but I couldn't find an answer to this question there.


1 Answer 1


Abraham's Circumcision

First of all, we must differentiate between Abraham's circumcision and the circumcision of the covenant that applied to Abraham's descendants and household. They are still the same circumcision, but Abraham is a unique case because he was the first to receive it.

Colossians and the answer you quote are speaking of Abraham's circumcision. His faith preceded the circumcision. In the same way, faith precedes baptism. The comparison they are focusing on is not in the timing of the age of the sign, but in the order.

Circumcision of Old Covenant

However, even when speaking of the circumcision of the covenant, the logic remains consistent. For infants were born into the covenant and then received the sign of circumcision. In fact, anyone wishing to join Israel and God's covenant people had to be circumcised. So whether it was by birth or by choice, the circumcision always followed as a sign of that status.

Baptism of New Covenant

Believers are not born into the new covenant, not with their first birth. Rather we are born again into the new covenant and then receive the sign of the covenant, now baptism, as spiritual infants.

Circumcision of the heart

Remember, even circumcision of the flesh was not enough. Just because one was born an Israelite did not mean they had a circumcised heart, which was the real point all along (Deut 30:6, Jer 4:4). In the same way, we cannot claim baptism to be effectual. It is still only a sign of the new birth. It means nothing without true faith like Abraham's.

Infant baptism neither signifies being born again, nor guarantees future faith. Logically, one could say the first circumcision didn't necessarily signify real circumcision of the heart either, yet they did it anyway. That is to say, it is not wrong to baptize infants, it is only wrong to put your faith in it. Just as Jesus pointed out it was wrong to trust in being a Jew (May 3:9). A system that allows for both infant christening and believers baptism would be fine, but when we eliminate believer baptism we are changing the order of the sign from what it was in the old covenant.


It is not illogical to say one applies to infants and the other does not. For the first birth applies to the first covenant and the second birth applies to the second covenant. Rather it is illogical to apply the same requirements of the first covenant to both the first and second covenant's signs, ignoring the differences between the covenants.

  • yes I think this is as complete an answer as can be given on the topic here. A further philosophical discussion about infant baptism wouldn't be on-topic :)
    – Ian
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 15:46

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