Baptism for little ones, too…
Terry Dashner……………...Faith Fellowship Church PO Box 1586 Broken Arrow, OK 74013
Why would I, a former Southern Baptist minister, advocate infant baptism? As I grow older in Lord, some topics that I once labeled—“errant-church doctrines”—now have come under closer scrutiny. One doctrine I have reviewed and renewed my thoughts to is infant baptism. Why?
I do this for several reasons. For one, Holy Spirit has been directing me this way. The Holy Spirit has impressed upon me that there is more to baptism than argument of immersion verses sprinkling. He has shown me that there is more to scope of baptism than simply baptizing a new (adult) convert in water.
What I’m about to share with you does not include ontological, metaphysical, or philosophical import of Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation in Jesus Christ). Although I concur that these precepts are very important to doctrine of baptisms—for sake of time and space—I’m going to keep this very simple. I also stipulate fact that we are called unto salvation from beginning. Also, I stipulate fact that salvation is a work of God’s grace—totally.
Granted. There is an awareness that people grow into with age that prompts them to call upon Lord for salvation; however, awareness and faith to believe unto salvation does not nullify grace. God provides everything for my salvation. I don’t add anything, not even faith to believe. God called me even before I was in my mother’s womb. God convicts me of need for His salvation in His timing. God provides grace and faith to receive His salvation (Eph. 2:8-10). Grace always comes before faith.
With that said, let me return to baptism. The argument against infant baptism is this. An infant is not capable of confessing his sin and calling upon name of Jesus for salvation; therefore, no infant should be baptized because baptism always follows conversion of person who has reached age of accountability. May I ask you this: What is age of accountability? Is that term found in New Testament? No, it isn’t. As a matter of fact, it is a term coined by some of radical groups of Reformation, such as Anabaptists (re-baptize). The Anabaptists believed that infant baptism was wrong and re-baptized all their adult converts who had been baptized as infants.
Here is an important point. Infant baptism is older than Reformation. It was practiced by early church, then Roman Catholic Church as well as Greek Orthodox Church and was undisputed until 16th century. To Roman Catholic, infant baptism is a “sacramental theology” issue and not a “church ordinance” issue as upheld by many Protestant groups. The Roman Catholic believes that baptism of an infant washes away original sin of infant. The Bible declares that ALL are born into Adam’s sin. I agree, but for me issue is neither “sacramental theology” nor a “church ordinance” issue. I believe that baptism of an infant has more to do with “covenant relationship” than washing away infant’s sins.
Allow me to explain, please. In I Corinthians 16:1 Paul writes, “Now I did baptize household of Stephanas…” The word “household” is key word. In Greek New Testament word oikos is translated, “household” and means entire family—men, women, and children (infants too). There is no evidence of this word being used either in secular Greek, Biblical Greek, or in writing of Hellenistic Judaism in a way which would restrict its meaning only to adults.
As a matter of fact, Old Testament parallel for “house” carries sense of entire family. The Greek translation of original Hebrew manuscripts (completed in 250 B.C.) uses this word when translating Hebrew word meaning complete family (men, women, children, infants). I believe that a Christian home should baptize every one of their new-born babies into God’s covenant relationship that He has established with parents. In this way—as Paul alludes to in his letter to Corinthians—the children are sanctified. I believe rite of infant baptism sets apart, as special, children of Christian parents. These children will grow up in “nurture and admonition of Lord” to embrace God’s salvation more fully as they mature in age. The baptism is a special covering of God’s grace.