What does the Bible say about infant baptisms?

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Question: I have not yet found any place in the Bible where it says that repentance MUST come before water baptism. This to me means that Christian parents can baptize their infant (like the Catholic Church practices). Is this correct? Does the Bible approve of or allow such baptisms?

Answer: First, we need to briefly discuss where this ceremony originated before delving into what the Bible says. Evidence suggests this ceremony was introduced by church 'fathers' in what would become the Catholics. The first known reference to this practice is found in the writings of Irenaeus, a late 2nd century Bishop who the Universal church considers a saint. Other references to the practice also exist in the writings of Origen (early to middle 3rd century A.D.) and Tertullian (late 2nd to early 3rd century). At the very minimum, history states infant baptisms were a standard practice in the Roman church starting in the 3rd century.

Catholics consider infant baptisms a sacrament (a religious act that confers grace on the person receiving it) that washes away "original sin" in the case of babies.

Catholics, however, are not the only denomination that practices the unbiblical teaching of infant baptisms (in one form or another). Others who perform this service include the Lutherans, Methodists, Anglicans, Presbyterians and Episcopalians.

Steps leading to baptism

  • God begins to open a person's mind to the truth and starts to draw him or her to Jesus Christ (John 6:44)

  • The person begins to understand what sin is and that they have disobeyed God. They start to have a deep, heartfelt repentance and remorse over their behavior (see Acts 2:37 - 38).

  • The person begins to change their life by obeying God (based on their growing understanding of the Bible)

  • The person makes a conscious choice to accept Jesus as their personal Savior and greatly desires to dedicate their lives to God by becoming a Christian
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Baptism is a external sign that a person has repented of sinning against God, has begun to produce fruits showing that they have repented and begun to follow him (Matthew 3:7-8), has accepted Jesus' sacrifice for their sins, and is willing to commit the rest of their lives to doing God's will. The choice to go under the baptismal waters is a serious commitment that lasts a lifetime and affects a person's future FOREVER.

An infant cannot understand the nature of sin, repent, begin to bring fruits of repentance then contemplate the serious decision of turning over their lives to the Eternal through the ceremony of baptism (see Romans 6). Baptized infants and small children, therefore, no matter how sincerely performed, is not endorsed in the Bible. Not only that, there is NOWHERE in the New Testament where it states God opened a baby's mind to his truth so that they could repent and change their (no doubt incredibly brief) lives!

For further studies into what should lead to baptism and its symbolic meaning see 1Corinthians 1:13 - 17, 1Corinthians 10:1, 1Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:27, Ephesians 4:5, Ephesians 5:26, Colossians 2:12, Hebrews 6:2 and 1Peter 3:18 - 20.

In conclusion, infant baptisms are NOT a practice found in the Bible but rather a long-held tradition of the Catholic Church that many other denominations have also accepted. Though no doubt carried out by sincere parents and others, the ceremony itself makes a MOCKERY out of what God requires in order for a person to receive his Holy Spirit and become a true believer in him.

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