Infant Baptism

Arguments in favor of infant baptism include these.

1. The Circumcision Argument

Col. 2:11-12 clearly links circumcision and baptism. Since infants were circumcised under the Old Covenant, they should be baptized under the New Covenant. The argument rests on the covenant theology concept of a single covenant of grace that involved an initiatory rite into that covenant, the rite being circumcision in the Old Testament and baptism in the New. These rites indicate membership in the covenant, not necessarily personal faith.

2. The Household Argument

Households were baptized in New Testament times. It would be likely that some infants at least were included in some of the households.

Some also cite the household promise of 1 Cor 7:14 as not only permitting but expecting the baptism of infants of a household where there is one believing parent.

Arguments against infant baptism include these.

1. Scriptural Order

That the scriptural order is always believe and then be baptized (Matt. 3:2-6; Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:37-38; 16:14-15; 16:34)

2. Baptism Is the Entry Into the Church.

That baptism is the entry into a believing community, the church; therefore it should only be done to believers. By contrast, circumcision initiated people (including infants) into a theocracy, which did have unbelievers in it.

3. Age of Children is Never Mentioned

The age of children is never mentioned in any passage that mentions household baptism. But it is said that all who were baptized in those households believed. This, then, would exclude infants from being included in the baptisms.

4. Requirement Not Given for the Unbelieving Mate

If 1 Cor. 7:14 allows or requires the baptism of children in a household where there is a believing parent, then it would also allow or require the baptism of the unbelieving adult mate.

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