Infant Baptism

House of Faith Church
Pastor Bruce A. Shields

Infant Baptism is False Doctrine

     Many times when I speak with people I hear the line, "But I was baptized as a baby...", and it really saddens me. So many people have been mislead about the truth of Baptism, what it means, what it represents, and they have a false sense of security thinking they belong to God simply because their parents had them Baptized as infants.

     The concept of infant "Baptism" is no where to be found in the Holy Bible. This is just one of many false teachings that have been accepted for so long, that they have become truth and gospel to many who have held on to them. This belief more than likely stems from the false teaching of "original sin."  However, we need to remember that the Bible is the authority and final say on any matter or belief we may have, not the doctrines and teachings of man.

     The Bible does not give one single account, example or command of any baby being baptized anywhere. The Bible does not teach babies are born separated from God. On the contrary, Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven belongs to little children.

     Matthew 19:14 "But Jesus said, "Allow the little children, and don't forbid them to come to me; for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven."

     To examine the topic of infant baptism, we must explore the false teaching of "original sin", i.e. the sin of Adam and Eve.

If humans are "born in sin" and separated from God, then Jesus would not have been sinless.

Jesus was not 50% God and 50% man. He was 100% God and 100% man, and "He committed no sin..." (1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 4:15)

Sin is something we commit. Sin is not something we are born with or "in".

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." - 1 John 3:4

The process of sinning is a step-by-step process in which we turn away from God and commit acts contrary to His will.

"But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." - James 1:14-15

     Nowhere in this verse does it mention anything about being born in, or with sin. In fact, Paul teaches that we fall short because we sinned.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." - Romans 3:23

     The word "sinned" is an active verb, meaning we did something. We sinned. And although we may have a disposition to sin, we are not born lost and separated from God.  How can infants who cannot even speak, sin?

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

     Notice, Paul does not say men were born into sin. It says death comes because we all sin. The word "sinned" is an active verb.  This means we have an active hand in our own demise. It is something we do to ourselves. Sin is an act. We commit sin; we are not born condemned. 

     The actions of Adam gave men the choice to sin because sin was now present. In Eden, Adam's eyes were opened and he realized he had a choice in whether to obey God or not. He saw the two paths set before him: obedience and disobedience. God gives us free will. 

Adam's ACT brings death. If we choose to follow Adam's path we die.
Jesus Christ's ACT brings life. If we choose to follow Jesus' path we live.

Whether in Adam or in Christ, we make a choice, and the end result is a result of that choice.

"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." - Romans 5:19

In other words, in Adam, we do not die until we choose to disobey, and in Christ, we do not live until we choose to obey. The end result of either is from the choice we make to disobey or obey.

     Adam's disobedience doesn't make every baby born lost anymore than Christ's death automatically makes every human being saved.

the false teaching of "original sin" teaches people do not have to take responsibility for their own sin.

     Paul explains that there was a time where he was alive once (probably meaning as a child), but when God's Law came (and he broke it), he died - just as Adam and Eve died when they sinned,

"For I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin came to life, and I died." - Romans 7:9

The Old Testament as well has scripture supporting the innocence of infants, proving that babies are not born lost and separated from God.

"Why didn't I die from the womb? Why didn't I give up the spirit when my mother bore me? Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breast, that I should suck? For now should I have lain down and been quiet. I should have slept, then I would have been at rest." - Job 3:11-13

The Bible uses the term slept or rest to describe a person who has died and gone to heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:6, 18, 20)

You see, the reasoning behind infant baptism is to remove "original sin" so that if they die, they will go to heaven. But the Bible teaches each man is accountable to God for his own sins, not the sins of others.

"Yet you say, why does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son has done that which is lawful and right, and has kept all my statutes, and has done them, he shall surely live. The soul who sins, he shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him." - Ezekiel 18:19-20

"Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin," - Deuteronomy 24:16

We are not held responsible to God for Adam's sin. Babies are not born separated from God. Therefore there is no need to remove "original sin." Baptizing an infant is an attempt to remove sin that is not there. Sin is disobeying God's commands. Sin is falling short of His laws. What command has a baby disobeyed? Babies are not lost!

     This is why we ONLY find believing, repentant adults, who have made conscious decisions to follow Christ, being baptized in the scriptures!

  1. An infant does not hear or understand the Gospel of Christ
  2. And infant cannot therefore believe in Jesus
  3. And infant has no sin and therefore has nothing to repent of, and needs no forgiveness.
Faith must always precede baptism.

     Once a child grows and matures and becomes disobedient (and therefore sins), or what some call the "Age of accountability", baptism can then enter the equation along with repentance.  There is no set age, for every person and their understanding is different. i.e. a mentally handicapped person may be in his thirties, but have the mind of a three year old.

Acts 16:32-34 - The Jailer and his household
"Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his while family."

     To those who want to use this scripture to "prove" infant baptism, there are a few things to notice. Firstly and most importantly, no infants were present!

But look at what does take place!

  1. Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to all those in the jailer's household.
  2. All members of the jailer's family were baptized.
  3. The whole family of the jailer came to believe in God.
Since every member of the jailer's family came to believe (after hearing the word preached to them) there could not possibly be any infants in the home.  Infants cannot believe in God.  Infants are not capable of understanding the "word of the Lord."

Only when an individual is old enough to believe the gospel do they become a valid candidate for baptism.

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