Examining Infant Baptism and Baptismal Regeneration

The issue of Baptism is a topic I've been avoiding for a while because of how controversial the topic is within the Church. But now I think it's time to get my thoughts out in the open. I will be focusing on the teaching of infant baptism that is taught in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Lutheran church. And even in some Protestant churches. As well as the teaching of Baptismal Regeneration, where you must be baptized in order to be saved.

Now, a year ago I used to go to a Lutheran church. And they gave me their case for infant baptism. One argument in favor of infant baptism is that Baptism parallel circumcision in the Old Testament. Where just as infants were circumcised to be part of the Old Covenant, we now baptize infants so they can be part of the New Covenant. They also believe that since infants are born with original sin, they must be baptized to wash the sin away, which creates faith in the infant. There are also several passages in Acts where the apostles declare that "you and your household" will be saved, which implies that infants would be included as well. They also use the famous passage, Matthew 20:19, which reads as follows: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:". They believe that when Jesus said nations, that also included the infants of those nations. But again, this is only an assumption.

There are also two more prooftexts that infant baptizers use in support of their theology. Another one is Luke 18:15-17, which reads as follows: "And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked him. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.". Next, we also have 2 Timothy 3:15, which reads as follows: "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus".

So, from these passages, we can indeed conclude that children can believe. With all that said however, I think there is a stronger case for believers baptism. Which is the position that only those who make a conscious and responsible choice to follow Jesus may be baptized. Through the Bible, salvation is offered and baptism commanded only to those repent and then believe and obey Jesus Christ. We see this in the ministry of John the Baptist. Let's look at Mark 1:5, which reads as follows: "And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and they were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins". The people that were baptized in the Jordan river were people who repented and confessed their sins. Infants cannot make such a conscious decision to repent, confess their sins, and be baptized. There are no crystal clear passages for infant baptism. All of the mentioned baptized people were old enough to make the conscious decision to repent and follow Christ on their own. They are all people who did something, and weren't just born to Christian parents and baptized as infants.

Now let's talk about baptismal regeneration, which is the belief that people must be baptized in order to be saved. There are several prooftexts for this position. A common one is John 3:5, which reads as follows: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God". However, I believe that in this passage, water refers to the water of the womb. Then when we receive the Holy Spirit, we are born once more. Another prooftext in support of baptismal regeneration is Acts 2:38, which reads as follows: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost".

However, for every verse that appears to support this theology, there are verses that contradict that teaching. The Bible clearly teaches that we are justified by faith. Just one of these clear passages is Ephesians 2:8, which reads as follows: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.". There are also many more clear passages in the book of Romans in support of this teaching. Therefore, I believe that baptism is an act of obedience that comes after repentance. We do it as a public declaration of our faith and because Christ commanded us to do so. And being dunked down into the water and then being lifted up is symbolic of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And the people who were baptized in the bible were immersed in water. The modes of baptism by sprinkling and pouring were come up with by the infant baptizers, since it was unwise to dunk a baby in water.

Finally, I will give an illustration. What if an unsaved person goes to a church, gets touched by the Gospel, and then decides to repent and put his faith in Jesus Christ that same day? And then when he's on his way to the church to get baptized and dies in a horrible accident, what happens to that person? Does that person go to heaven for repenting and believing in Christ? Or is he damned to hell all just because he didn't get baptized? I don't believe that God would be so unreasonable. That's another reason why I believe that salvation is through repentance and faith, and not by baptism. For adding baptism as part of salvation adds works to Salvation, which is unbiblical.

If you happen to believe in infant baptism and/or baptismal regeneration and think I'm wrong, feel free to leave comments in support of your view. I don't mind listening to other views that challenge my own. And I also don't condemn you for believing in those theologies, since what you believe about this issue is between you and God, so long as you affirm the absolutely essential doctrines of the Christian faith. However, this is my clear and honest position on the issue, and I decided it was time to get it out in the open. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog, nonetheless. God bless, everyone!

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