Why Do We Baptize Babies?

“Why do we baptize infants?” is a question in ministry we hear often. I would conservatively guess that I receive this question about five times a year on average. This number is based on conversations ranging from those that have nothing to do with infant baptism, and then the person may introduce the question, or they may just initiate the conversation with the question on baptism. Sometimes it is something people have been wrestling with for some time and other times it appears like they are very sympathetic to the view and are looking for a reason to support the practice they already approve.

Thus I write this article hoping to answer many questions most commonly asked. To be clear, I don’t want to write, so I don’t have to answer them in person, but so that they would be able to see the argument and study it carefully. Often I forget all the words people say and I am certain I’m not alone.

First, let me say two things at the outset. There is no explicit command in the Bible to baptize children, to say this differently, there isn’t an instance recorded where believing parents bring children to receive the sign of baptism. On the other hand, we read of no situation in the New Testament where Christian parents of a child are told not to bring their child to receive baptism till they have come to an age of discernment and have given something resembling a profession of faith in Christ.

So this is the question “What are we to do with children of believers?” I have seen Calvary Chapel churches dedicate babies, or sometimes other churches pray over the children, then there are the many other denominations that baptize their children. I argue that all children of at least one believing parent should receive the sign of holy baptism.

First I will argue that the that the covenant made with Abraham was a spiritual covenant, while it also had a national aspect. The sign and seal of this spiritual covenant circumcision.

Baptists will argue that the Abrahamic covenant should be divided or broken up into three different covenants. But throughout Scripture, it is always spoken of in the singular, always. Some examples:

Ex. 2:24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

Lev. 26:42 then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.

2Kings 13:23 But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now.

1Chr. 16:16     the covenant that he made with Abraham his sworn promise to Isaac,

Psa. 105:9     the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac,

Also, I argue that the spiritual nature of the Abrahamic covenant is proved by the Apostolic interpretation of the Abrahamic covenant in the New Testament.

Rom. 4:16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

Rom. 4:17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Rom. 4:18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.”

2Cor. 6:16-18 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

Gal. 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

Gal. 3:9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Gal. 3:14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Gal. 3:16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

Heb. 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Heb. 11:9-10 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

Heb. 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

In the Old Testament circumcision, while visible, had a spiritual significance.

Deut. 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.

Deut. 30:6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

Jer. 4:4     Circumcise yourselves to the LORD;
remove the foreskin of your hearts,
O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem;
lest my wrath go forth like fire,
and burn with none to quench it,
because of the evil of your deeds.”

Jer. 9:25 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh—

Jer. 9:26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”

Acts 15:1 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Rom. 2:26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Rom. 2:27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.

Rom. 2:28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.

Rom. 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Rom. 4:11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,

Phil. 3:2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.

And Paul even calls the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant “The Gospel.”

Gal. 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

The conclusion is that while the Abrahamic covenant had national or political aspects, (promised a land, people, and global blessings) the essence of the covenant was spiritual. Also that it was unified and was always in place while seen in different administrations. This next point will move from this first in the next article.

One thought on “Why Do We Baptize Babies?

Comments are closed.