Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Scriptural Support for Infant Baptism: In light of Original Sin

To understand why Catholics (and Lutherans, and some Episcopalians and Methodists, etc...) Batpize infants, 2 things need to be understood: 
1) what the Church believes about Baptism, and
2) the Church's understanding of Original Sin. 

I have posted quotes from the Early Church Fathers about what the earliest Christians believed about Baptism.  But in this article, I will stick strictly to Scripture.

The Catholic position is that Baptism is:
1) a Sacrament which confers on us the Holy Spirit,
2) through which we are made members of Christ, and
3) Baptism saves us. 

Baptism is sacramental (a visible sign, with an invisible grace, instituted by Christ) that confers the Holy Spirit, and washes away sin.

I will sprinkle clean water upon you , and you shall be clean form all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.”  (Ez 36:25-27) 

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord, our God, calls to him.”” (Acts 2:38-39)

“And now why do you wait?  Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling in his name.” (Acts 22:16)

Baptism makes us members of Christ...makes us “Christians” (and fulfills circumcision, gives entrance into the New Covenant)

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1Cor 12:13)

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal 3:27)

In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”  (Col 2:11-12)

Baptism saves us

“...when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.  Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clean conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1Pet 3:20-21)

“Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”...”After this Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; there he remained with them and baptized.”  (Jn 3:5, 22)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt 28:19-20) (Final instruction to the Apostles)

Infant Baptism, through the understanding of Original Sin and Circumcision

In Adam, all have sinned; in Christ, all are made righteous.  Original sin is not a sin we “commit”, but a sin we “contract” or “inherit”...a “state” rather than an action (CCC 402-404). The easiest evidence of this is the fact that none of us are born into Paradise...and ALL off us need salvation...and we ALL have to experience physical death.    We are all born in a state of spiritual lacking...spiritual death.  Only in Christ do we have salvation and spiritual life.  This is because of the sin of Adam...we carry that “stain”, so to speak, of Original Sin.  Just as circumcision was the entrance into the Old Covenant (Gn 17:11, 14;  Judith 14:10) so Baptism is entrance into the New Covenant (see above).

Original Sin, all men contract it

“Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.  He comes forth like a flower, and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.  And dost thou open thy eyes upon such a one and bring him into judgment with thee?  Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?  There is not one.”  (Job 14:1-4)

“What is man that he can be clean?  Or he that is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?”  (Job 15:14)

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me...Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”  (Ps 51:5, 7)

“Do not reproach a man who is turning away from sin; remember that we all deserve punishment.” (Sirach 8:5)

“What then?  Are we Jews any better off?  No, not at all; for I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no one does good, not even one.””...”since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:9-12, etc...and Rom 3:23)

“12 Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned – 13 sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.  14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.  15 But the free gift is not like the trespass.  For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.  16 And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man's sin.  For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.  17 If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.  18 Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.  19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many may be made righteous.  20 Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Rom 5:12-21)

“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”  (1Cor 15:21-22)

“One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.” (Heb 7:9-10)

“Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.”  (2Cor 5:17)

In the Bible, we see what Protestants refer to as a “believer's Baptism”...only among adults who are capable of professing their belief.  But it only makes sense that the focus would first be on the adults.  The law of circumcision was given first to adults who were then to circumcise infants.  If circumcision is a foreshadowing of baptism, then it only makes sense to baptize infants.

Circumcision is entrance into the Old Covenant

“You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.  Throughout your generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days old, including the slave born in your house and the one bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring.”  (Gen 17:11-12)  (Note that it is given to adults first, who are able to then take it to children.  And at eight days old, are the infants able to profess a belief in God or to proclaim that they wish to be in God's family?  The parents must profess this on behalf of the children.  And even slaves are not left out...there are no exceptions to this covenant.  We can see examples in the NT as well where a child is healed because of the faith of the father, or a slave healed by the faith of his master, even a paralytic healed because of the faith of his friends.)

“Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” (Gen 17:14)

“When Achior saw all that the God of Israel had done, he believed firmly in God.  So he was circumcised, and joined the house of Israel, remaining so to this day.”  (Judith 14:10)

The old is a foreshadowing of the new

“In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”  (Col 2:11-12)

“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near.” (Heb 10:1)

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.”  (Mt 5:7-18)

Baptism is the entrance into the New Covenant 

In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”  (Col 2:11-12)

And there you have it...the Church's teaching on Infant Baptism, through the teacing on Original Sin.  Many thanks to John Martignoni for the Scriptural references.  For a wonderful recorded explanation, please visit www.biblechristiansociety.com where you will find his, and others', talks for FREE! [almost] :)

*all italics within Scripture quotes are my own emphasis*



    Is infant baptism a Biblical practice? Is infant baptism in agreement with Scripture?

    Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (NASB)

    Infants cannot repent because they do not understand the meaning of repentance nor do they comprehend water baptism. Infants have no sins that need to be forgiven. Infants are not sinners. Infants do not need to repent nor do they need to be baptized.

    Only comprehending adults are guilty of sin.

    James 1:14-15 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and entice by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.(NASB)

    Infant cannot be tempted to sin. Infants are not enticed by their own lusts. Infants do not get drunk and commit fornication. Infant to not commit armed robbery. Infants do not murder. Infants are not sinners.

    1 John 3:4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.(NASB)

    Infants do not practice sin. Infants do not break God's laws. Infants are not sinners.

    Acts 22:16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His, name!(NASB)

    Infants are not capable of getting up and being baptized, they cannot even understand the command. Infants cannot call on the name of the Lord.

    Acts 8:34-38.....36.....What prevents me from being baptized?" 37 [And Philip said , "If you believe with all your heat, you may." And he answered and said , "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."]....

    Infant cannot believe nor can they confess Jesus as the Christ the Son of God. Infants cannot meet the requirements for water baptism. Infant are prevented from being baptized.

    Acts 31:30-34 and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31 They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." 33...and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household......34 having believed in God with his whole household.(NASB)

    The jailer had to believe and be baptized to be saved. The jailer did not believe for his household. The jailer was not baptized for his household. Everyone in his household believed before they were baptized. Infants cannot believe, there were no unbelieving infants baptized. Believing always precedes water baptism.

    Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.(NASB)

    The jailer and his household were saved just as Jesus said in Mark 16:16, they believed and were baptized. Infant cannot believe nor can they consent to be baptized. Infant are not lost, only sinners are lost.

    John 8:24 'Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."(NASB)

    If you take the position that infants are guilty of sin; then you have to believe that if infants die before they believe that Jesus is the Christ, and the Son of God that infants will die in their sins.

    Infants are not sinners.
    Infants do not qualify for baptism.
    Infants are not lost.
    Infants who die without baptism will not go to hell.
    Infants who die without believing in Jesus will not go to hell.
    Infants who are aborted will not go to hell.

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    1. "Is infant baptism a Biblical practice? Is infant baptism in agreement with Scripture? (etc...)"

      Yes and yes. Scripture tells us that the promise of Baptism is for us AND our children in Acts 2:38-39. Scripture also tells us that Baptism takes the place of circumcision, which was given to infants (Col 2:11-12).

      Some people ask how an infant can profess a Faith in Christ or request Baptism, but the better question is, do they NEED to in order to be Baptized? This question can be answered by looking at circumcision, since St. Paul makes the obvious connection for us. But I'll get back to that at in a bit.

      Instead of focusing on infant's sins of commission, it seems there is something larger at play here, which is the sin of contraction...the “original sin” we inherit from Adam...a state rather than a personal sin committed. Scripture makes this abundantly clear to us in Job 14:1-4, Ps 51:5, 7, Sirach 8:5, Rom 3:9-12, etc...and Rom 3:23, Rom 5:12-21, 1Cor 15:21-22, Heb 7:9-10.

      The witness of the earliest Christians shows us that they were unanimous in believing in Infant Baptism. Why should we adhere to this 16th century, or later, doctrine of man, that infants don't need Baptism, which has no Scriptural support?

      "Infants are not sinners."

      Well, we agree they have not yet committed any personal sins. But Scripture tells us that we ALL are in a state of original sin that we inherit from Adam.

      "Infants do not qualify for baptism."

      You'll need to provide the Scripture verse that tells us this. No Scripture passage, and no Christian up through the 16th century, teaches this. This statement is a 16th century, or later, doctrine of man. It was invented by the Anabaptists after the Reformation.

      "Infants are not lost."

      Infants have not committed personal sin. Does this equate to not being lost? If so, then why are infants not born into Covenant with God....not born into Paradise? Why are they born into this fallen and sinful world? (It's because they, just like everyone else, inherited original sin from Adam...just like the Bible says.)

      "Infants who die without baptism will not go to hell.
      Infants who die without believing in Jesus will not go to hell.
      Infants who are aborted will not go to hell."

      I believe only God is wise enough to know this, and Scripture does NOT teach this, nor did ANY ealry Christian in the first centuries of Christianity. Infants who die without Baptism have not entered into the New Covenant with God. See 1Cor 12:13, Gal 3:27, Col 2:11-12. We know God is not bound by His Sacraments...but we should not presume to know how He exercises His Will. We can only trust in His Mercy.

      Here are 3 questions I ask you to sincerely ponder over and then answer for me:

      God said that entrance in to the Old Covenant was via circumcision. He also commanded that every infant be circumcised at 8 days old, after all the adult males were circumcized. He also said this applies not just to the Israelites, but to their servants/slaves, and their children as well(Gen 17:11-12). Then God said that if any one among them was NOT circumcized, he was to be cast out...he who has NOT been circumcized has broken the covenant (Gen 17:14).
      So, my questions are:

      1) How does a baby in those days know to ask God to be a member of His Kingdom...to enter into the covenant with God?

      2) How come a baby, who was not able to request circumcision, was guilty of breaking the covenant due to a lack of circumcision?

      3) [flip side of #2] How could a baby be brought into God's covenant through an act that the baby could not request, in a faith that the baby could not profess?

      (Please support all assertions with Scriptural passages.)