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The case for infant baptism
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Yannis
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The case for infant baptism

Is infant baptism acceptable? Why is infant baptism such a big deal for Catholics and Orthodox?

Consider,

For two thousand years, from Abraham to the Coming of Christ, God showed His people that he wanted their babies to be in covenant with Him. The way to do it was simple, give them the sign of the covenant.

In the Old Testament, the sign of entering God's covenant was circumcision, at eight days of age. In the New Testament, the Lord changed the sign to baptism. But nowhere do we find Christ announcing that, from now on, babies were to be kept out of the covenant.

In fact, we find Jesus saying the opposite: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matt 19:14).

Also Peter called everyone to embrace Christ by entering into the New Covenant: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39).

Can we not reasonably conclude that God still wants children in covenant with Him? And since the New Testament gave only baptism as the sign for entering in the New Covenant, why shouldnt the babies of believers be baptized?

It's no wonder that the Early Church practiced infant baptism from the beginning.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
06-17-2011 01:22 AM
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COMankind
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RE: The case for infant baptism

Yannis,

I've always wondered about the scriptural basis, never really investigating it. It was always something I considered pure tradition, not something to attempt and debate. But here's my thoughts:


The key in the verse you quoted is that people "repented" - which an infant can hardly do. Also, in verse 42 of Acts 2: "Those who accepted his message were baptized" - their children would given the promise by proxy. (1 cor 7:14)

When baptism is done on children, it is akin to the process of circumcision. An act that was not one of the heart, but instead one of ritual. Circumcision was deemed a matter of conscience, even though many Christians fought for this ritual.

Baptism was symbolic of being cleansed. It was picking up on a Jewish tradition. By being immersed, the person was asking to be cleansed by God. An infant doesn't have a whole lot to be cleansed of, nor does it know to ask for it.

Baptism in scripture was not necessarily intended to be a one-step for all time ritual. There was nothing holding back Christians from going back to get baptized repeatedly. John the Baptist himself said to Jesus "I need to be baptized by you" (matt 3) - Not unlike washing of the hands before a meal....

God doesn't need a person to actually immerse themselves in water in order for him to love and save them. This is a tradition. So baptizing children can certainly be a tradition as well. But believing that God now loves that infant after it comes out of the water, yet didn't beforehand, is what's odd. It is used as membership into a church, and how an infant can decide on Orthodoxy is beyond me. Even Noah's kids made a decision to help or not - forced following is not what God encourages.

All rituals like this are used as tools to sharpen our faith, to exercise our hearts, to tighten our relationship with God. Infants do not have the capability to consciously use tools.

in kindness


philia, COMankind

"The tent of God is with mankind" - Rev 21:3

06-17-2011 04:25 AM
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Yannis
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RE: The case for infant baptism

COMankind Wrote:
An infant doesn't have a whole lot to be cleansed of, nor does it know to ask for it.


A baby is born into sin and has the stain of sin so it needs cleansed by baptism.

Rom 5:12, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned"


COMankind Wrote:
Baptism in scripture was not necessarily intended to be a one-step for all time ritual. There was nothing holding back Christians from going back to get baptized repeatedly


Actually there is something holding back a Christian from repeated baptism, Ephesians 4:5 says, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." That is why Catholics and Orthodox only perform one baptism.

COMankind Wrote:
God doesn't need a person to actually immerse themselves in water in order for him to love and save them.


Actually, the bible disagrees with you again,

1 Pet 3:21-22, "and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

And consider, where unbelievers came into the Church there are NT texts dealing with baptism that can be interpreted to include children and even infants.

"I baptized the household of Stephanus...," (1 Cor. 1: 16). In Acts where Lydia was Pauls first convert in Europe it says: "She and her household was baptized," (Acts 16: 15). When the jailor in Philippi became a believer "he and his whole household were baptized," (Acts 16: 33).

It is hard to believe that in these households there were no children below the age of moral accountability or no infants.

As you can see there are scriptural reasons for infant baptism, and Church history supports this view.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
06-17-2011 11:43 AM
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COMankind
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RE: The case for infant baptism

Too bad for the criminal on the stake next to Jesus then.
Too bad for Enoch.
How sad that Gandhi will burn in hell for not being immersed in water.

If you honestly believe that an Almighty God needs a man to perform a ritual in order to offer him a loving gift, then you are limiting God's ability to love. Man, in the first century, during a very specific window of time, instituted the ritual of baptism.

I could imagine my own father telling me "I'll pay your hospital bill, but only if you do 100 push ups for me" - That's not love, that's a trade.

Taking scriptures like that literally, along with other verses that instruct us how to bury our feces, is where we go wrong. 1 Pet 3 talks first about a symbol, and second about the conscience. This is a tool for a person to use to help them start fresh mentally. But it is not a key to salvation. What is?

"As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

... You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’" Mark 10:17-19

Surely if there was an opportunity to clearly say 'you must get baptized or else' it was at a moment like this.

As far as the verses cited regarding families that were baptized - nothing is said about infants. The assumption is that these are people making conscious decisions.


philia, COMankind

"The tent of God is with mankind" - Rev 21:3

06-17-2011 05:22 PM
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AlienResident
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RE: The case for infant baptism

RE: Too bad for the criminal on the stake next to Jesus then.

Thanks, Com. I had the exact same thoughts.

AR


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.- MLK

06-17-2011 06:08 PM
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Yannis
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RE: The case for infant baptism

COMankind Wrote:
Too bad for the criminal on the stake next to Jesus then.
Too bad for Enoch.
How sad that Gandhi will burn in hell for not being immersed in water.


You limit God's Grace and mercy, i dont. With God there isnt black or white. The criminal couldnt get baptized in his situation, the Lord didnt hold it against him. Enoch lived in a time before the New Covenant and as far as Gandhi, well, that is for God to judge.


COMankind Wrote:
If you honestly believe that an Almighty God needs a man to perform a ritual in order to offer him a loving gift, then you are limiting God's ability to love. Man, in the first century, during a very specific window of time, instituted the ritual of baptism.


To you it's a man-made ritual but Christ instituted it for a reason.

Look at John 3:5, "Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit"

How are we to understand what the Lord meant?

Rom 6:3-4, "Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

According to Jesus, we are born again at our baptism. We cannot get into the Kingdom, according to Christ, without water.


COMankind Wrote:
As far as the verses cited regarding families that were baptized - nothing is said about infants. The assumption is that these are people making conscious decisions.


You assume that there werent ANY young children but the scriptures clearly state, ENTIRE households were baptized. What constitutes an entire household to you? You would not count young children? Then i couldnt count my young daughters in my household according to you.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
06-17-2011 06:09 PM
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wolfie
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RE: The case for infant baptism

I thought this might be something to consider...Luke 19: 1-10

'Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.(1)
A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus: he was a
chief tax collector and was wealthy.(2)

He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short
man he could not, because of the crowd. (3)

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him,
since Jesus was coming that way. (4)

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him,
''Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.'' (5)

So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.(6)

All the people saw this and began to mutter, ''He has gone to be
the guest of a ''sinner'' (7)

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ''Look, Lord! Here
and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have
cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.'' (8)

Jesus said to him, ''Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham. (9)

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.'' (10)

not even a mention of baptism--it is all about grace--the grace of God and Jesus Christ and it is this grace that is free--no strings :heartbeat:
and apparently it is pretty powerful stuff as it changed zacchaeus on the spot from the inside out...


''In the midst of winter I finally learned that in me there was an invincible summer.'' Albert Camus

''live simply, speak kindly, love unconditionally''
06-17-2011 06:46 PM
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AlienResident
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RE: The case for infant baptism

Hi Yannis, how are you doing?

What do you (you and your church that is) think/say of this?

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. - 1 Corinthians 7:14

AR


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.- MLK

06-17-2011 06:47 PM
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Yannis
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RE: The case for infant baptism

wolfie Wrote:
I thought this might be something to consider...Luke 19: 1-10

'Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.(1)
A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus: he was a
chief tax collector and was wealthy.(2)

He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short
man he could not, because of the crowd. (3)

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him,
since Jesus was coming that way. (4)

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him,
''Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.'' (5)

So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.(6)

All the people saw this and began to mutter, ''He has gone to be
the guest of a ''sinner'' (7)

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ''Look, Lord! Here
and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have
cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.'' (8)

Jesus said to him, ''Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham. (9)

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.'' (10)

not even a mention of baptism--it is all about grace--the grace of God and Jesus Christ and it is this grace that is free--no strings :heartbeat:
and apparently it is pretty powerful stuff as it changed zacchaeus on the spot from the inside out...


Please re-read what Jesus said to Nicodemus. It ALL goes back to that.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
06-17-2011 06:59 PM
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Yannis
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RE: The case for infant baptism

AlienResident Wrote:
Hi Yannis, how are you doing?

What do you (you and your church that is) think/say of this?

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. - 1 Corinthians 7:14

AR


Hi AR, i wasnt familiar with this verse so i had my wife look it up in the Orthodox Study Bible. Here is what it says,

"In Judaism, the family was joined to the covenant through the father. But in the Church, the family is holy if either spouse is a believer. (2 Tim 1:5, "I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.)

This does not mean that all are saved, but all are affected by the faith of a Christian spouse. The family is a spiritual unit; if one member is a Christian, the whole family is set apart by God's Grace."


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
06-17-2011 07:22 PM
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Willa
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RE: The case for infant baptism

Well, here's a couple of quick thoughts - if Jesus is our greatest exemplar - how old was he at his baptism, and how should that affect our view?

What is the difference between one who is baptized as an infant, but as he matures he becomes disaffected and turns into a frothing-at-the-mouth, die-hard and out-spoken atheist --- and someone who's a faithful, though unbaptized, zealous lover of God and Christ, fulfilling the divine Law of Love throughout his life?

You already said, Yannis, that God's love and mercy can't be underestimated or limited - and with that I heartily agree!

I posit that Jesus may have not been speaking to Nicodemus of literal water, ie: water baptism. Could he have been alluding to spiritual water -

John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Revelation 7:17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 21:6 Then He said to me, “ It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

???


:heartbeat: You are my friends! I don't think it just by chance, but by God's Grand Design, that He has guided both our steps... to let your paths cross mine. :heartbeat:
06-17-2011 08:11 PM
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Yannis
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Post: #12
RE: The case for infant baptism

Willa Wrote:
Well, here's a couple of quick thoughts - if Jesus is our greatest exemplar - how old was he at his baptism, and how should that affect our view?


Jesus didnt have any sins to be forgiven for so He didnt need to get baptized. He IS the New Covenant so He didnt need to get baptized to be under the New Covenant.

So why did the Lord get baptized? Matt 3:15, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” More on the significance below.

Willa Wrote:
What is the difference between one who is baptized as an infant, but as he matures he becomes disaffected and turns into a frothing-at-the-mouth, die-hard and out-spoken atheist --- and someone who's a faithful, though unbaptized, zealous lover of God and Christ, fulfilling the divine Law of Love throughout his life?


I wouldnt call that someone very faithful if he doesnt feel the need to get baptized for that person is disregarding Christ's commandments to be baptized.

Willa Wrote:
You already said, Yannis, that God's love and mercy can't be underestimated or limited - and with that I heartily agree!

I posit that Jesus may have not been speaking to Nicodemus of literal water, ie: water baptism. Could he have been alluding to spiritual water -

John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Revelation 7:17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 21:6 Then He said to me, “ It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

???


The context of Jesus’ statements in John 3 makes it clear that he was referring to water baptism. Shortly before Jesus teaches Nicodemus about the necessity and regenerating effect of baptism, he himself was baptized by John the Baptist, and what happened?

Jesus goes down into the water, and as he is baptized, the heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father speaks from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son." There is the water and spirit Jesus spoke of to Nicodemus. Jesus gave a foretaste of what happens at our baptism.

What did Jesus do after leaving Nicodemus? "Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; there he remained with them and baptized" (John 3:22).

Can't be any plainer to me what Jesus meant.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
06-17-2011 09:03 PM
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Willa
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RE: The case for infant baptism

Maybe he didn't need to be baptized, but Jesus set a proper example for us to follow in everything he did... baptism too, impo.

I was baptized only once, as a JW. I use to think maybe I needed re-baptism. But now, having experienced what I've experienced, I think baptism of the spirit is far more powerful, and indeed I think that is the baptism to which Paul referred - one baptism. In any case, I'm saved and I know it, no doubts - but that assurance came long after my water baptism - maybe in spite of it, I don't know, lol.

You want to argue your church's doctrines, Yannis, I get that. I used to do the same as a JW, but now I'm convinced that living by Christ's love is by far more important, and a better witness. But that's just me. Do what you feel you must!

:)


:heartbeat: You are my friends! I don't think it just by chance, but by God's Grand Design, that He has guided both our steps... to let your paths cross mine. :heartbeat:
06-17-2011 09:22 PM
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Yannis
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RE: The case for infant baptism

Willa Wrote:
You want to argue your church's doctrines, Yannis, I get that. I used to do the same as a JW, but now I'm convinced that living by Christ's love is by far more important, and a better witness. But that's just me. Do what you feel you must!

:)


You too argue your own doctrines or why else would you have responded to this and other threads?

But you are right, I am arguing over doctrine, which is certainly appropriate at times, but in the grand scheme of things, showing love and working out our own salvation is much more important AND a far better witness. Besides, the Holy Spirit is our teacher, certainly not me. I will shut up now.

You can take the Witness out of the organization but you can't......., well, you know the rest.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
06-17-2011 09:32 PM
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COMankind
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RE: The case for infant baptism

Quote:
You limit God's Grace and mercy, i dont. With God there isnt black or white.


Yannis,

It bears noting the common denominators!

Adding:

I wanted to make sure we quoted a bit more context in John 3. The phrase "born of water" is only used once in all of the NT, whereas "born of spirit" or even "born of God" is used many times over:

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, 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. "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.

(the following is a summary of this: http://www.justforcatholics.org/a25.htm)

point 1:
Luke 13:28: Abraham is to be in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, according to John 3, Abraham was born of water and spirit. However Abraham was never immersed.

point 2:
Nicodemus has no clue about Christian baptism, he was a Jew and knew Jewish traditions. Jesus was likely using a reference to something the Jews could relate to. Otherwise, why would Jesus say in verse 10 "“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? "

point 3:
Water baptism is an act of human will. Salvation is a gift.
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. " - John 1:12,13

point 4:
It is asserted that 'born of water' means water baptism. But the NT used water in a number of ways. The holy spirit is like water (John 4:14; 7:38, 39) so is the Word (Ephesians 5:26) - either of these could apply to John 3. For example, see a virtually identical statement to John's at 1 Peter 1:22, 23:

"Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit… having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever"


philia, COMankind

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06-18-2011 03:09 AM
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