Definition: The performance of the Sacrament of Baptism upon babies. Infant baptism is conducted in the Catholic, Orthodox, Reformed, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Anglican churches. In Catholicism, baptism is said to provide the sanctifying grace that will eventually lead to salvation. The faith that is necessary is provided by the parents – it is a surrogate faith. In Lutheranism, the faith of the child is seen as an unconcious faith, which eventually will be nurtured to completion. The Lutheran is taught to remember their baptism as an aid to assurance of salvation. In Presbyterian and Reformed Churches, infant baptism reflects entrance into the covenant, whereby the spiritual benefits of the church will be available. The old covenant sign of circumcision is said to be replaced by the new covenant sign of baptism. Historically, the baptism of children was not a practice of the early church, but began around the third or fourth century.
Discussion: There is no scriptural evidence of infants being baptized. Every instance of Christian baptism in the Bible occurred after the reception of the gospel and repentance. The purposes of baptism are lost when infants are baptized. Baptism is a public testimony of a person’s repentance and faith, and is done in obedience to God. It is also a public testimony of entrance into the church of the redeemed. It reflects the person’s commitment and submission to the church of Jesus Christ. Infants lack repentance, they lack faith, and they lack understanding. The detrimental effects of infant baptism include: confusion of what is necessary for salvation, disobedience to the clear purposes and administration of the sacrament, the tendency to trust in baptism rather than Christ, the failure to fully break from false Roman Catholic teachings, the incorporation of unbelievers into the church, and the loss of benefit that public testimony of submission and commitment to the church provides.
Articles and Viewpoints: