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The Bible on baptism -- what is correct ? Infant baptism or believers baptism ?


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Initial post: Sep 11, 2011 11:24:18 PM PDT
Bob Bykowski says:
One thing I am having difficulty resolving in my various Christian beliefs is the whole subject of baptism. What is truly correct according to the Bible ? Should an infant be immediately baptized ? Or is one supposed to wait until they reach a so-called "age of accountability" (seven years or older) before they are baptized ? Or should one hold off until they are an adult and wish to give a public confession of faith in Jesus as savior, casting off their old life of sin and regenerated into a new birth ?

What is truly, Biblically correct ? If one should wait until they are older, can or should a so-called child dedication possibly be made to the church during the interim period of time ?

If this subject has been covered in a previous thread, please forgive me. There just seems to be so many different denominational positions on when a person should be baptized, according to God's wishes.

Posted on Sep 11, 2011 11:49:46 PM PDT
Biblically it's always been a personal, volitional act. The practice of infant baptism was an outgrowth of the idea that baptism was necessary for salvation. You don't see it in the bible.

Posted on Sep 12, 2011 3:11:43 AM PDT
I think Baptism is a replacement for circumcision - entry into the New Covenant.

I attend a Lutheran Church, and they make it almost a criteria for salvation, which I think is a little bit left-field. Basically it's entry into the covenant community, at least from the Reformed perspective. It doesn't guarantee salvation, but admits you to the rights and responsibilities of the covenant community, which is why we baptize infants. Baptists are the only group that have believers baptism to my knowledge.

Posted on Sep 12, 2011 3:33:32 AM PDT
Infant baptism was introduced by the Roman Catholics as a way to guarantee membership in their parish. It is not biblical.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 7:14:08 AM PDT
Robert, It was ruled by the Church that baptism now replaces circumcision, (Acts 15;12, Matthew 16;18) and babies once being circumcised, are then and now being baptized, as affirmed in Acts 16 where all members of the houseld were baptized. Peace always in His Most Precious Blood, Jesus our Great God and Saviour

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 7:15:45 AM PDT
Anthony, Yes you do, for "Baptism now saves you", and "unless one is born of water and Spirit, once cannot enter the Kingdom", (1 Peter 3:21, John 3;5). Peace always in His Most Precious Blood, Jesus our Great God and Saviour

Posted on Sep 12, 2011 7:22:08 AM PDT
Ambulocetus says:
Here is an interesting page defending the idea that infant baptism is, indeed, scripturally based.
http://www.catholic.com/library/Infant_Baptism.asp

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 7:27:49 AM PDT
Which, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with infant baptism...

Sheesh.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 7:34:08 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 12, 2011 7:34:27 AM PDT
Anthony, Really? You mean the part that states that Baptism is for you AND your children, (Acts 2;39), which did replace circumcision, that also was done in infancy, (Acts 15:12), thus all members of the households were baptized, (Acts 16). Peace always in His Most Precious Blood, Jesus our Great God and Saviour

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 8:21:06 AM PDT
Sean B says:
Hi there. I'll offer this epistle/ revelation from Jesus Christ written in the New World circa A. D. 400. It's very strong language, just as a head's up. Jesus is very strong in correcting false doctrine and practices. One revelation from Christ is more powerful than a thousand interpretations and opinions on your question. If you are sincere, you will find peace and power in Christ's words here. Blessings, Sean

"And now, my son, I speak unto you concerning that which grieveth me exceedingly; for it grieveth me that there should disputations rise among you.

For, if I have learned the truth, there have been disputations among you concerning the baptism of your little children.

And now, my son, I desire that ye should labor diligently, that this gross error should be removed from among you; for, for this intent I have written this epistle.

For immediately after I had learned these things of you I inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And the word of the Lord came to me by the power of the Holy Ghost, saying:

Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.

Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach-repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.

But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!

Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell.

Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.

For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism.

Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear.

And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.

For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy.

And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.

Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ.

For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing-

But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works."

Book of Moroni, chapter 8.

http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/8?lang=eng

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 8:45:02 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 12, 2011 12:47:17 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 11:58:14 AM PDT
Sean B says:
Amicus, Thank you for your thoughts.

Jesus established his church among the people here in the Americas shortly after his resurrection. He taught them about baptism. It is not inconceivable that they wondered about the baptism of children as people wonder today.

Whether a revelation form Christ has a similar tone to what someone could preach in a contemporary church (at the time of translation in the 1800s) doesn't say anything about whether this is a true revelation from hundreds of years prior, which would have probably been in Hebrew originally anyhow.

Please accept my brief thoughts as a show of respect for everyone's time rather than as a half-baked reply to you.

Sean

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 12:16:25 PM PDT
Amicus says:
Thanks Sean.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 12:26:46 PM PDT
FashionSense says:
Robert Bykowski

Under concepts of free will a person is allowed to do whatever they choose to do. So you can be water baptized at whatever age you choose to. There is nothing wrong with man made concepts in religions either. Churches can decide that they want to celebrate a new born babies life (entrance into this world) with water baptism. There is no wrong or sin in that.

Biblically correct falls under all those concepts. God gave us free will to make our own choices. If parents feel like they want to celebrate their newborn into this world with a water baptism it is your own personal choice.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 12:59:06 PM PDT
Bob Bykowski says:
Craig A. Manning,

There are other denominations besides Baptists that practice believers baptism. To the best of my recollection, they include:

Pentecostal/Assemblies of God;
Seventh-Day Adventists;
Disciples of Christ (I'm surprised on this one, since they are a pretty liberal denomination, and it is usually the conservative/fundamentalist denominations that follow believers baptism);
Church of Christ;
Christian Scientists;
Mormons;
Jehovah Witnesses;
Quakers;
Possibly United Brethren, although I'm not positive on that one.

There's also a couple of denominations, like the United Church of Christ and the Church of the Nazarene, that find valid criteria in both infant baptism and believers baptism, so they allow members the choice of which to go with.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 1:34:55 PM PDT
Sean B says:
A most amicable exchange.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2011 6:40:54 AM PDT
Ambulocetus says:
Right? I'm astonished.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2011 7:07:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 13, 2011 7:09:43 AM PDT
Bubba says:
I think that both baptism and circumcision should be left up to the individual, neither should be inflicted upon a helpless infant.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 14, 2011 9:53:54 PM PDT
To Fashion Sense:

Just some thoughts on what you said. You made the point that "If parents feel like they want to celebrate their newborn into this world with a water baptism it is your own personal choice."

It is not healthy for man to pervert the ways of the Lord.

Remember King Saul sacrificing the animals to the Lord when the Lord commanded him to do something else with them. What Saul did really damaged his relationship with the Lord.

The purpose for baptism is not to celebrate the birth of a new born
child. That is a misuse of Baptism: free will or not, it makes no difference. King Saul used his free will and it did not please the Lord.

The Lord never intended baptism to be used for that purpose.

Harold

Posted on Sep 15, 2011 5:22:06 AM PDT
Being immersed in the Holy spirit ,when you believe

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2011 7:13:25 AM PDT
Mr. Bykowski:

Yours in an important question because there is so much contradictory teaching on the subject today (which is a fairly recent development, <500 years old).

We need to be honest when we look at the facts on this one. The Bible neither specifically commands infant baptism, nor does it prohibit it, although, as Matthew points out, it does strongly imply infant baptism. However, as Mr. Toohey points out, the specific examples in the Bible of people being baptized involve believers submitting to the act. The Bible is not contradictory on this, but people's conclusions are.

However, the extreme view of Mr. Mckneely that it is a Roman Catholic exercise to induct infants into the parish is simply wrong historically.

The Early church fathers wrote about infant baptism as early as the second century (100s AD). It is obvious from their writings, and from writings from other sources that infants were being baptized from the earliest recorded times of the post Acts Church. They are almost unanimous in their position that infant baptism was a practice handed down by the apostles. I say "almost" because there is one (and only one) church father, Tertullian, who challenges the practice. He does not deny its taking place, he only questions it. Given that Tertullian left the Church, his opinion is not the most convincing on the subject.

It's not until 1526 that Thomas Muentzer, leader of the catastrophic Peasant's Revolt, again challenges the practice. Muentzer, the leader of the "Enthusiasts," again is not a good example to follow.

To get at the question of why infants have been baptized without question for 1500 years of Church history, and why the majority of Christians continue to do so to this day, we need to back up from "why we do/don't baptize infants and ask some important questions, like:

Why did Jesus command it?
What does baptism do?
How does it work?
And perhaps most importantly: Who is the one "doing" the baptismal act? The preacher/priest? The Baptizee? Or the Holy Spirit?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2011 8:14:35 AM PDT
Craig A. Manning,

RE: "I attend a Lutheran Church, and they make it almost a criteria for salvation, which I think is a little bit left-field."

With all due respect, that is DECIDEDLY NOT the Lutheran interpretation. If I might ask, how did you come to this conclusion?

Grace and Peace.

S.D.G.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2011 8:19:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 15, 2011 8:24:52 AM PDT
Paul K. Mckneely,

RE: "Infant baptism was introduced by the Roman Catholics as a way to guarantee membership in their parish."

Not exactly...

RE: "It is not biblical."

That depends, entirely, on what you believe the purpose of baptism to be.

What is clear, is that the idea that baptism is merely an act of initiation into the Church is not biblical and a much later innovation in the Christian faith.

Also, the concept that baptism merely replaces circumcision as a mark of membership in the New Covenant is also not biblical...

Grace and Peace.

S.D.G.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2011 8:32:53 AM PDT
B. Josephson says:
Johann, do you know what ad hominent arguments are.

They attrack persons rather than ideas.

You seem to like ad hominem arguments, as you have used them agasints Tertullian and Muentzer.

I know they are good rhetorical tools for a debate, but they do not IMO strengthen your argument.

Best Wishes,
Shaamba Kaambwaat

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2011 9:06:53 AM PDT
Anthony Toohey,

RE: "Biblically it's always been a personal, volitional act."

Just wondering how you came to this conclusion.

You are aware Acts speaks of entire households, including children, infants and slaves, being baptized together when the head of the household joined Christianity. One might suspect the children and infants did not come by their own volition...

RE: "The practice of infant baptism was an outgrowth of the idea that baptism was necessary for salvation."

And wondering how you come to this conclusion, as well. What do you assume is the purpose of baptism?

Grace and Peace.

S.D.G.
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Initial post:  Sep 11, 2011
Latest post:  Dec 26, 2012

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