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What is the significance of infant baptism?

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by dms1972, Sep 19, 2018.

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  1. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What is the significance of infant baptism for the children of believers?

    I was baptised as an infant, both my parents were Christians.

    I am reading an article about this and it says its wrong to presume regeneration,

    "As there is no promise in the Bible that God will regenerate all of our natural offspring, or all those externally in the Covenant, we ought not to go further than the Word of God and presume this."

    Presumptive Regeneration

    What does it mean to be externally in the Covenant of Grace?
     
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  2. Johnny4ChristJesus

    Johnny4ChristJesus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for exploring this topic.

    Personally, I felt compelled to get baptized when God woke me up. But, I had been baptized as an infant as well.

    God can honor infant baptism, if He wants. And, it may be a way of putting God's protective hand on a child. But, it seems that, Scripturally, first you repent and believe, then you are baptized is the general order of things. An infant wouldn't have the ability to understand any of that.

    I also believe that all who die before the age of decision (whatever age God determines that to be) will be found in heaven.
     
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  3. drjean

    drjean Senior Veteran Supporter

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    As a young parent in the Presbyterian church, my children were baptized as babies to 'give them their names' before God and to 'dedicate them to God.' God was faithful to them as they accepted Jesus as young children and are strong Christian workers today.
     
  4. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    In short, baptism initiates an infant into the Church. It is one of the oldest traditions of Christianity. In the bible, "entire households" are offered the chance at salvation, see Acts 16:15, 1 Corinthians 1:16.

    A father has the right to speak for and to determine the religion of his children.
     
  5. Stringfellow_Hawke

    Stringfellow_Hawke Active Member

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    I was baptized as an infant. We'll be baptizing my child too when they're born (don't know gender yet.) As @HTacianas and @Johnny4ChristJesus said it initiates, so to speak, into the church and is God's protective hand. I also see it as way of dedicating them to Him. A show of thanks as well.
     
  6. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother?

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    An infant who is baptized will grow up and reach an age where they can take the promise made by their parents upon themselves... hence, Confirmation.

    As others have said, this is a very ancient practice.
     
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  7. AvgJoe

    AvgJoe Member since 2005 Supporter

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  8. David Cabrera

    David Cabrera Well-Known Member

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  9. AvgJoe

    AvgJoe Member since 2005 Supporter

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    I don't agree with them on everything, but I do agree with the articles I share, from them.
     
  10. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This implies that God just ordains ceremonies to test our obedience, I really don't care for this kind of theology. It's true that baptism is not magic or fire insurance, but I happen to believe it is biblical to see a promise in baptism to the family, that their child belongs to God, and proof of God's goodwill towards us. It is also a promise that the child will grow into for themselves as they mature, if they are guided by the Christian community.
     
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  11. Major1

    Major1 Well-Known Member

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    You got wet!
     
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  12. Major1

    Major1 Well-Known Member

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    Could it be that you are Catholic and the information gleaned from "Gotquestions" are based solely on the written Word of God?

    Just asking!
     
  13. Major1

    Major1 Well-Known Member

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    And as the Bible says...………...oh, wait, the Bible says NOTHING about babies needing to be baptized.

    Imagine that!
     
  14. Major1

    Major1 Well-Known Member

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    Romans 10:9.…..
    "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

    Babies can not CONFESS with their mouths.
    Babies can not BELIEVE with their hearts.

    Salvation is an act of the will when a sinner is convicted of their sin and water baptism plays NO rule in that event.
     
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  15. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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  16. ExTiff

    ExTiff Active Member

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    You do not understand the premise upon which the children of believing parent(s) are baptized. It has nothing to do with what faith the child has. It has to do with the fact that God has promised in scripture that the children of believers are 'Holy' and that they belong to God, since their parents have been 'bought with a price' and therefore everything that the parents have already belongs to God. That truth having been accepted, there is no reason for the church to withhold baptism as the sign and seal of God's covenant with the child.

    [ There are two classes of people to whom baptism is applied, namely adults and infants
    a. Adult baptism: Baptism is intended for believers and their seed. In the words of the institution Jesus undoubtedly had in mind primarily the baptism of adults, for it was only with these that the disciples could begin in their missionary labours. His instruction implies that baptism had to be preceded by a profession of faith, Mark.16:16. On the day of Pentecost those that received the word of Peter were baptized, Acts.2:41; cf. also Acts.8:37 (Auth. Ver.); Acts 16:31-34. The Church should require a profession of faith from all adults seeking baptism. When such a profession is made, this is accepted by the Church at its face value, unless there are good reasons to doubt its sincerity.

    b. Infant Baptism: Baptists deny the right of infant baptism, since children cannot exercise faith, and since the New Testament contains no command to baptize children and does not record a single instance of such baptism. Yet this does not prove it un-biblical. Since the Jewish nation had previously understood infants to be included with their parents under The Old Covenant, it would be unreasonable to exclude them under the New, especially since the New is a 'Better Covenant' and 'More Gracious' than the old. Jews would have continued to believe their infants were covenant bound from birth and would have continued to circumcise 8 day old males even under the New Covenant. Circumcision was replaced by baptism, as scripture attests, yet there is not a single word of Apostolic disapproval anywhere in the New Testament against the baptizing of an infant. If it were frowned upon there should be objections in the NT, but there are none. There are examples of whole families being baptized though, and though infants are not specifically mentioned, it is unlikely that there were none or that Jews who entered the New Covenant would have allowed them to be excluded. There are also no recorded incidences of an adult or adolescent child of believing parents being baptized, anywhere in the new testament, yet we know that infant baptism was not only widely practiced in the church within 150 to 200 years of the Apostolic church, and well before the closing of the canon of scripture, and there are no objections raised by any authority against its practice.

    (1) The scriptural basis for infant baptism: Infant baptism is not based on a single passage of scripture, but on a series of considerations. The covenant made with Abraham was primarily a spiritual covenant, though it also had a national aspect. Rom.4:16-18; Gal.3:8, 9, 14. This covenant is still in force and is essentially the same as the "new covenant" of the present dispensation, Rom.4:13-18; Gal.3:15-18; Heb.6:13-18. Children shared in the blessings of the covenant, received the sign of circumcision, and were reckoned as part of the congregation of Israel, 2 Chron.20:13; Joel.2:16. In the New Testament baptism is substituted for circumcision as the sign and seal of entrance into the covenant, Acts.2:39; Col.2:11-12. The "New Covenant" is represented in scripture as more gracious than the old, Isa.54:13; Jer.31:34; Heb.8:11, and therefore would hardly exclude children. This is also unlikely in view of such passages as Matt.19:14; Acts.2:39; 1 Cor.7:14. Moreover, whole households were baptized and it is unlikely that these contained no children. Acts.16:15; Acts.16:33; 1 Cor.1:16.

    (2) The ground and operation of infant baptism. In reformed circles some hold that children are baptized on the ground of a presumptive regeneration, that is, on the assumption, (not the assurance), that they are regenerated. Others take the position that they are baptized on the ground of the all comprehensive covenant promise of God, which also includes the promise of regeneration, (immediately or in due course). This is my preferred view. The covenant promise affords the only certain and objective ground for the baptism of infants. But if the question is asked, how infant baptism can function as a means of grace to strengthen spiritual life, the answer is that it can at the very moment of its administration strengthen the regenerate life, if already present in the child, and can strengthen faith later on when the significance of baptism is more clearly understood. Its operation is not necessarily limited to the very moment of its administration. (A Summary of Christian Doctrine : Louis Berkhof.) ]
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  17. Major1

    Major1 Well-Known Member

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    Actually I do understand the infant baptism thesis and the thought that it is based upon the patents faith and position.

    Unfortunately you do not understand the Bible teaching on baptism my friend. You have copied and pasted a wonderful "Denomination Position" but it is just that and has no grounds in Scripture.

    I have no desire to argue this with anyone and you are welcome to accept your faith denominational teachings but the concept of infant “baptism” is totally foreign to the Holy Scriptures. This practice stems from the erroneous teaching of “original sin.”

    The Bible does not give one single example or command of any baby being baptized anywhere.
    The Bible does not teach babies are born separated from God. On the contrary, Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven belongs to little children.

    We are not held responsible to God for Adam’s sin. Babies are not born separated from God. Therefore there is no need to remove “original sin.” Baptizing an infant is an attempt to remove sin that is not there. Sin is disobeying God’s commands. Sin is falling short of His laws. What command has a baby disobeyed? Babies are not lost.

    This is why we only find believing, repentant adults who have made conscious decisions to follow Christ, being baptized in the scriptures!

    #1.) an infant does not hear or understand the Gospel of Christ

    #2.) an infant cannot therefore believe in Jesus

    #3.) More importantly, an infant has no sin and therefore has nothing to repent of, and needs no forgiveness.

    Faith must always precede baptism.

    Once a child grows and matures and becomes disobedient (and therefore sins) baptism can then enter the equation along with faith and repentance. No one knows what this “age of accountability” is, however; Each person is different.
     
  18. ExTiff

    ExTiff Active Member

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    It would seem from this statement of yours that you wrongly assume that infant baptism, "is based upon the parents faith and position". It is not, because that would not accord with scripture. No one is 'saved' by another's faith. In fact no one is 'saved' by faith. In fact every one is saved by God's Grace. Rom.3:21-26. Were God's Grace not freely available to all there would be nothing whatever in which to have 'faith'.

    Infants are baptised only on the understanding that the parent(s) have faith in God's Grace, but the grounds for baptism are the promises of God in scripture, to the children of believing parents. If you choose not to believe those promises, that is your affair. We chose to believe them. If you are ignorant of those promises of God in scripture, it is because you never bothered to read the references given in my previous post.

    I understand and believe God's promises to both believers and their 'seed'. I copied and pasted an argument citing the scriptures that the Biblical Doctrine is actually based upon. Your inability to accept the Doctrine unfortunately results from your misuse of scripture. (The unwarranted assumption that Doctrine must be based only upon scriptural examples or commands.) If this illogical rule were consistently applied then no woman would be permitted to receive Communion. The Bible does not give one single example or command of any woman receiving communion anywhere.

    I have no desire to argue this with anyone and you are welcome to accept your faith denominational teachings but the concept of adult only baptism, (and therefore exclusion of 'little ones' of covenanted parents Matt.19:14.) is totally foreign to the Holy Scriptures. This practice stems from the erroneous teaching of “Baptism requiring human intellect.”

    Not all 'little children'. Eph.2:12.

    The children Jesus used as an example were not gentile children. Eph.2:12. They were Jewish children, whose parents were covenant bound to God. Ezek.16:20-21. Covenant children belong to God, they are His children from the get go. Covenant parents have covenant children, that is why they are 'Holy' 1 Cor.7:14. If the children of just one believing parent, (even if it is the mother), are 'Holy' but others with unbelieving parents are therefore not 'holy', how does your understanding of scripture explain that?

    Upon what scripture do you base the supposition that ALL infants are born 'Holy'? Rom.6:23? Are you trying to tell us that babies from conception are exempt from death, until they actually sin? Everyone is guilty in Adam, and are therefore born with a corrupt nature. Job.14:4; Jer.17:9; Isa.6:5; Rom. 8:5-8; Eph.4:17-19. Ps.51:5.

    Not that baptism of infants is carried out specifically to remove the inherited sin of Adam. As I explained previously that is not the premise upon which the children of believers are baptised. It is the promises of God to their believing parents which permit it.

    No it's not, it is because the letters were written at a time most people joining the church were adults. Adults which often had children, who were baptised along with their parents and their slaves.

    I agree only with #3. Infants have no personal sin of which God requires them to repent.

    Only in the case of adults, infants are not baptised on the ground of any assumed 'faith' their baptism is on the grounds of God's promise that they will in due course, if they keep covenant with Him, receive 'saving faith' as their inheritance, freely gifted to them as promised to their parents in Holy Scripture. The only thing which might prevent faith following baptism for them , would be ignorance of God's covenant with them, resulting in neglect of their salvation and subsequent rebellion. That is why it is important that they be brought up in the fear and nurture of The Lord, learn his commandments, know His Son Jesus Christ, repent of their sins, believe in the great salvation they have received from God from birth and continue to keep Gods covenant by faithfully serving Christ according to the principles of His Kingdom on Earth, as also in Heaven. (If only this happened with all baptised infants).

    Hence all the unnecessary anxiety among 'Baptists', whose children (they say) are no longer heirs to the promises, indeed they are not in the covenant since, (they say), it no longer exists; they are no longer in the Church, which cannot embrace them because of their unconscious state; the Church becomes a society of adults to which their children are only admitted as proselytes at the time when each on their own volition believes and is converted and sanctified. Until then they have a dangerous and imaginary liberty which they are always in danger of abusing, and an inevitable slide into sinfulness which is hoped by the parents, (and the Church presumably), will respond to the rebuke of God, as on all who have sinned.

    This is in fact a profoundly unscriptural theology. Far less scripture based than infant baptism under covenant theology.

    Infants of believers are actually a supreme example of salvation by 'faith alone' and not 'works, that any can boast of'.

    In adults there must be a confession of faith and repentance of past sins, followed by at least a desire for baptism if they have not already undergone that ritual.

    This leaves room for a false view of how salvation is obtained. It is tempting for such believing adults to attribute salvation to (a) their faith, (b) their repentance, (c) their determination to live according to God's law, or any combination of or all three. None of these reasons provide salvation. It is God's Grace that guarantees our salvation, (the atoning sacrifice of God in Christ), nothing else can secure it. The aforementioned 'a,b,c' only allows the transmission of God's Grace by the removal of the blockage from our end of the relationship. The free gift was always there for the receiving "while we were yet still sinners". Rom.5:8.

    Infants receive baptism solely on the grounds of God's grace, in that God has promised those who will trust God's Word, that their children will be 'saved', under the terms of the same covenant God has made with the parents by their faith in God's Grace, through their repentance and their determination to allow God's spirit to Sanctify them.

    Infants are incapable of ratifying and confirming their own covenant relationship with God. They therefore cannot have false views 'a,b or c'. They have a purer relationship with God than even a 'believing' adult is capable of. They are utterly dependent upon God's Grace, incapable of faith or works of the law and have as yet nothing for which personal repentance is required by God.

    This indeed is perfect 'salvation' which cannot be enhanced, but only neglected, if they are careless enough to allow it to fall into abeyance or actually reject it.

    All being well they will voluntarily come to God at the time of God's choosing and freely take upon themselves the full responsibility of keeping God's covenant, which is faithful service to our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Meanwhile they belong to God, God has claimed them for Himself, to give to Christ. John.6:37.
    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  19. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This isn't an argument against infant baptism so much as it's an argument against biblicism.

    And we do believe that babies are capable of faith. As ExTiff points out, faith is not just about intellectual assent.
     
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  20. ExTiff

    ExTiff Active Member

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    No person baptised as an infant can automatically presume 'regeneration', but regeneration has been solemnly sworn and promised them by God, should they voluntarily wish that to take place.

    If you have "Drawn near to God, with your heart", (seriously evaluated God's parentage and accepted His discipline as essential to your spiritual well being), "Been reconciled to God by sincerely praying the sinner's prayer and becoming a Disciple of Jesus Christ" then God will honour your "humble and contrite heart" and freely gift you with His Holy Spirit, when you ask in faith". You almost certainly already have spiritual 'gifts', ready for you to use in God's service. Find out what they are and use them.
    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
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