As far as I can determine, this subject has only been covered in respect of discipleship and in respect of the justification of adult baptism. It may be dealt with elsewhere and I may have, inadvertently, duplicated.

My natural father was a Church of Scotland minister, my grandfather, great grandfather and brother also. I left the C of S at the age of fifteen and was baptised as an adult at sixteen. But I still remember being 'christened' at the age of five, delayed for reasons that escape me.

Fifty years later, after leaving the C of S (and the prospect of lifelong employment within it) I still cannot understand how a Protestant can justify paedobaptism.

  1. Paedobaptism does not 'replace' circumcision. They are totally different things and Paul expressly states in Galatians that it is confusion to attempt to continue circumcision into the New Testament. In fact, he warns against it, Galatians 5:3.

  2. There is no single example, anywhere in scripture, of an infant being 'christened' or baptised. Not a single one.

  3. In every case, repentance - at least - precedes baptism (by John). 'Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance' he requires of would-be baptisees, Matthew 3:8.

  4. After John, both repentance and faith precede baptism, Acts 8:37. I am aware that some dispute the validity of that text but it is beyond credulity to think that the eunuch's question 'What doth hinder ... ?' would remain unanswered as both he and Philip went down into the water.

  5. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus is recorded as proscribing that the apostles should (first) teach the nations. After being taught, they (who receive the teaching) are to be baptised. This cannot include unintelligent babies.

  6. It is evident that the principle 'Protestant' baptiser of infants (I would say the C of E) has remained as close as possible to Roman Catholicism, the term 'Anglo-Catholic' being virtually synonymous with 'Roman Catholic' insofar as the rest of Protestantism is concerned.

  7. There is also the question of what exactly is the benefit (to itself or to others) of 'baptising' an unknowing infant which cannot take any part, until adulthood, in the very activities which characterise the church.

So my question, if it is indeed not a duplicate of another, is - what is the justification, from a Protestant perspective ?

  • 1
    Not all Protestant religions have infant baptism, you need to designate which Denomination you are asking about.
    – BYE
    Jun 9, 2018 at 15:31
  • christianity.stackexchange.com/q/13710/23657. In line with @BYE comment check out this related question
    – Kris
    Jun 9, 2018 at 15:34
  • 1
    Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses don't baptise infants. However, Methodists (and perhaps other Protestant denominations) call the procedure of sprinkling a baby/infant with water a dedication to the Lord and ask the congregation to stand with the parents in bringing the child up in the Christian faith. Personally, I would like to know which Protestant denominations approve of infant baptism. I do so hope this question won't be blocked.
    – Lesley
    Jun 9, 2018 at 17:07
  • 1
    @DJClayworth Thank you for the link but the main (and mainly upvoted) answer is all about circumcision which is just not relevant (despite Calvin being keen on it as an argument). Is that really all that Protestantism has to justify paedobaptism with ? ?
    – Nigel J
    Jun 10, 2018 at 3:01


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