“As Long as They’re Christians”
Do Denominational Differences Really Matter?
Part IV: Specific Arguments For and Against Infant Baptism
The most important text to look at is Christ’s words in Mathew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 1 Here Christ says to baptize all nations. He does not say to baptize only the adults. When a person says that all his family is at grandmother’s house, this means all his family is there—babies too. The clear Word of God must be allowed to stand alone without changing the interpretation to fit into the box of human reason. Those against infant baptism attempt to say that the teaching must come before the baptizing and thus infants should not be baptized since they cannot be taught. And for adults this is true. Adults should be taught first before baptism. This is the model of both the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament God commanded Abraham in Genesis 17:10 to circumcise all males in his household, and there is no doubt that Abraham first instructed the adult males about it; however, when his son Isaac was born, he did not circumcise Isaac after he reached the ‘age of discretion,’ but when he was eight days old (Genesis 21:4). 2 The same is true in the New Testament. Adults were to be instructed before baptism, but the children were to be baptized immediately. In Acts chapter two Peter says, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 3 Adults were instructed first then baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and then their entire families were also baptized. There are several examples of this in the Bible, yet human reason tries to change the clear Word of God. Even in the example of Nicodemus in John 3, they say that Nicodemus was an old man and that Jesus did not include children. But Jesus speaks very generally and says, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” This returns to the same point covered earlier. All are born sinful and all need to be washed clean in order to enter the kingdom of God.
Those who oppose infant baptism finally say that there are no explicit instructions to baptize babies in Scripture. True, that the Bible doesn’t say word for word “baptize infants,” but infants are included in the words all nations and unless one is born, and need what Baptism gives. If we follow their unreasonable reasoning, scripture also never explicitly says that women should take Holy Communion. There is no verse that says word for word, “Communion is for women too.” Scripture also does not say, “Do not baptize infants.” As shown, just because there is no command to baptize babies in the way AE”s want it worded, Scripture clearly teaches that baptism is for all because all need baptism. Flesh births flesh and must be reborn of water and the Spirit in order to enter into the Kingdom of God. Baptism is the way God does this. Scripture is full of examples. I Peter 3:21 says, “Baptism now saves us.” Galatians 3:26-7 says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you who are baptized, you have put on Christ.” I Corinthians 12:13 says, “Through one Spirit we have all been baptized to one Body.” Titus 3:5 says, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Mark 16:16 says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved;” Ephesians 5:25-27 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
While Scripture does no say word for word, “baptize babies,” it clearly teaches that all people are born sinful and that all nations need to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. If we want to talk about what Scripture really doesn’t teach, it is exactly what AE’s teach: 1. that baptism isn’t for all nations, but only adults. 2. Baptism does NOT save, give the gift of the Holy Spirit, wash away sins, or create faith. 3. Faith isn’t God’s work, but man’s decision to save himself/herself. 4. There are two ways to be saved—one by faith—the other by an age of accountability, meaning all haven’t fallen short of the glory of God – only adults. 5. Baptism is not God’s work, but man’s work of publicly obeying and declaring he/she is a committed Christian and that Baptism is only symbolic.
I could go on all day listing their teachings, which truly aren’t in the Bible, but the above is enough for now. As you can see, AE’s say they believe all the Bible, but they really do not believe it all—unless “all” means “some.” To be continued….
Baptized into Christ, Pastor Stark
P.S. Home Devotional Resources: http://mlchouston.org/about-us/memorial-moment & http://steadfastlutherans.org/2017/02/lambs-at-pasture-daily-devotions-for-the-family/
1 Mathew 28:19-20.
2 P. 133 Johan G
3 Acts 2:38-9.
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