The Berkeley Version clarifies the literal meaning of this verse: it says that you received the circumcision of Christ " when you were buried with him in baptism And what God has joined together, let not man put asunder. What this boils down to is that baptism is to the New Testament what circumcision was to the Old Testament. Baptism is to the New Testament what circumcision was to the Old Testament. This means that the very same objections that our baptistic brethren often raise against infant baptism also apply against infant circumcision.
And yet, God commanded infant circumcision!
INSTRUCTION ON INFANT BAPTISM
Therefore, in the New Testament era, children of believers, since they are church members, are to be given the sign of baptism. Doesn't he teach that faith has to come before baptism? Don't we have to conclude that since infants cannot believe, therefore they cannot be baptized? Well, first, note that this objection would also have to apply to infant circumcision. In effect God told Abraham to believe and be circumcised. Personal faith was just as necessary for salvation in the Old Testament as it is in the New. Adult converts to Judaism had to believe first and then be circumcised.
And yet, God also commanded infant circumcision! Second, you can see that this objection is mistaken because it proves too much. The fundamental argument is that because infants cannot believe, they cannot be baptized. However, if you apply this same logic to the rest of the verse, you are forced to conclude that because infants cannot believe they cannot be saved either. This objection not only keeps infants from baptism, it keeps them from heaven. Third, you can see that this objection is mistaken because it is Pelagian to the core. By making baptism depend on human ability, it assumes that saving faith is a product of the flesh and not a work of God's sovereign grace.
Thank God, he's not bound by our inability, or we would all be without hope! But what is impossible with man, is possible with God! The sovereign God can even work faith in an infant Psalm , "You made me trust in you even at my mother's breast"! The sovereign God can even work faith in an unborn child.
Trivia question: who was born again before he was even born?
Departures from the Sacred Plan
John the baptist! See Luke And that's part of what baptism says: "You did not choose me, but I chose you" John Fourth, you can see the fallacy in this objection if you apply this same logic to other verses. But hold the phone! To apply 2 Thessalonians to infants that way is clearly to take it out of context.
Is Spiritual Insight a Product of Thinking or Praying?
And that's exactly the case with Mark ! Mark is a command for evangelizing unbaptized adults , and that is our practice. An unbaptized adult must profess belief before he can receive baptism. That was true in the Old Testament with circumcision, and it's true in the New Testament with baptism. Others might object: But there's no direct or explicit command in the Bible to baptize the children of believers.
Well, that's true. Even so, as we've seen, God's "you and your children" principles are loud and clear. They proclaim an indirect or implied command to baptize the children of believers. If children of believers are not to be baptized, what we really need to see is instruction that children are no longer to receive the covenant sign. There is none! Instead, as we've seen, the New Testament assumes these "you and your children" principles.
In light of this assumption, consider these examples of baptism in the New Testament:. God's Word nowhere says that these households did not include children. Indeed, a Jewish mind would immediately assume that they did! If covenant children were no longer to receive the covenant sign, wouldn't this have caused tremendous confusion in the early church? Wouldn't the early believers have needed instruction to the contrary, as they did about so many other problems?
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Why, then, can't you find any? This doesn't make sense On baptistic assumptions, there must have been hundreds of such cases before the New Testament Scriptures were completed. Yet, there's not a single example of it! There's not even a shred of teaching about it. Why not? You see, baptistic arguments generally try to shift the burden of proof to the paedobaptist. They keep saying, "Show me an explicit command or example of infant baptism in the New Testament. He 's the one that is going completely against the grain of God's revealed mode of relating to his people.
He 's the one who has yet to show where the Bible teaches that God has rescinded the "you and your children" principle established in Genesis and reaffirmed all through the Bible. He has yet to show where the Bible teaches that God no longer deals with both individuals and families as he always has.
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And that's precisely what he cannot do. God reveals that he wants to extend his church both through space by the conversion of pagans and through time by the covenant nurture of children, so that generation after generation grows up trusting and serving the Lord. God deals with individuals, as well as with families. This means that conversion isn't automatic. And baptism isn't magic.
Baptism doesn't guarantee salvation any more than circumcision did. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. You can legitimately paraphrase Romans , "You are not a Christian if you are only one outwardly, nor is baptism merely outward and physical. No, you are a Christian if you are one inwardly; and baptism is baptism of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.
Christian parents, this means that you must actively nurture your children in the Christian faith. You may not treat your children as neutral until they are "old enough to make their own decision. Thus, you must train your children to respond with faith and obedience to the Christ of the covenant. On the other hand, covenant children, this means that you must respond with faith and obedience to the Christ of the covenant.
You must personally entrust yourself to Jesus to be your Savior. If you don't, then you'll go to Hell. And let me warn you: the Bible teaches that the hottest spots in Hell are reserved for those who have tasted the heavenly gift and turned away from it! But I hope better things for you!
History of baptism
In your baptism, the Lord says to you, "My child, you belong to me. Give me your heart. God has initiated, God has planned, and God has established salvation for his people. Through his Word and Spirit God is building his church. And God has given baptism as a sign, a seal, and a means of confirming his gospel promises. It's a privilege both for you and for your children. God graciously binds himself to the promises of his Word. And he calls you and your children and your children's children to keep his covenant and know his blessing from generation to generation.
Contact Us Donate. Larry Wilson Does it surprise you to learn that even though we're presbyterians, we're also baptists? I'd like to invite you to consider it in light of the following five-step explanation: The church of the Old Testament and the church of the New Testament are, in essence, the same church; God includes the children of believers as members of this church; In the Old Testament era, children of believers, because they were church members, were given the sign of circumcision; In the New Testament era, God has taken the sign of circumcision and changed it to baptism; Therefore, in the New Testament era, children of believers, because they are church members, are to be given the sign of baptism.
Let's take a closer look at these. Matthew Henry put it this way, Our opponents call upon us to prove by express Scripture that infants are in the covenant; but certainly, having proved even to demonstration that they were in the covenant, it lies upon them to show where and when they were thrown out of the covenant; which they were never yet able to prove, no, not by the least footstep of a consequence. It is as clear as the sun at noon-day that the seed of believers had a right to the initiating seal of the covenant; and how came they to lose that right? If the seed of believers who were taken into the covenant, and had a right to the intiating seal under the Old Testament, are now turned out of the covenant, and deprived of that right, then the times of the law were more full of grace than the times of the gospel; which is absurd.
Can it be imagined that the Gentiles are, in respect of their children, in a worse state than they were under the [Old Testament]?
Then, if a Gentile was proselytised and taken into the covenant, his seed was taken in with him; and is that privilege denied now? Is the seed of Abraham's faith in a worse condition than the seed of Abraham's flesh? Step 5 Because the church of the Old Testament and the church of the New Testament are in essence the same church; and because God includes children of believers as members of this church; and because in the Old Testament, children of believers, since they were church members, were given the sign of circumcision; and because in the New Testament era, God has taken the sign of circumcision and changed it to baptism; Therefore, in the New Testament era, children of believers, since they are church members, are to be given the sign of baptism.
Printer Friendly. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed.
It is fascinating that Justin is part of the church in Rome! It's the Roman Catholic Church that says that infant baptism was taught since the time of the apostles. They even produce quotes from "early" church fathers to support it. Yet this, the earliest quote that could be applied to infant baptism, given in the city of Rome, is ignored!
That is typical of Catholic apologists. Well, there we have two quotes to work from. One, from Irenaeus around the year , certainly seems to be pro-infant baptism, and the other, from Tertullian around , addresses infant baptism directly and disagrees with it.
Related Infant-Baptism: Historically Considered
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