Which one is Biblical? Child baptism or adult baptism? A person born and brought up in a Christian family and has been baptized as a child need to take baptism again when he became an adult? Or is the baptism given to a child not really ‘baptism’ ? Is it disobedience to God when a person doesn’t take adult baptism?
@anbugrace The CARM article gives an overview, clarifying that infant baptism is an issue that we can disagree upon and still worship together. Then I provide two articles - one in defense of believer’s baptism and one in defense of infant baptism.
But before you dive in there, I’d just like to make a few opening points:
- if a person puts their faith in Jesus, they can always be baptized again if they want to as a public profession of faith and they feel that is the Lord’s leading, even if they have been baptized before as an adult (or infant)
- baptism does not save us - if we are not made new by the Spirit of God, we go down a dry sinner and come up a wet sinner - we must be born again
Hope those thoughts are helpful. Feel free to ask more questions. The Lord grant you wisdom and peace.
This position states that you should only be baptized once you are old enough and have personally chosen, of your own will, to put your faith in Jesus. It is then a public profession of your decision.
Infant Baptism - Born Into God’s Household
Infant baptism tends to see the child as part of God’s covenant community because they were born to parents who are part of that community. Just like children in the OT were part of the covenant community, infants are part of the Church - sanctified by the parents - unless they choose to walk away from the Lord.
Western Christian tradition over the centuries seems to have lost track of the original Biblical ceremonial nature and purpose of baptism in Judaism. Baptism was a perpetual practice instead of the only once insistence that is prevalent. A ceremonial statement of baptism is to declare a point of change or renewal of purity. Unfortunately, the purpose of baptism was lost in the era of infant baptism and fear of death with high child mortality. The newborn’s name and birth date and baptism records were kept by churches and that operated as official records since civil states didn’t create birth certificates. Christening was a social norm that was a two-fold purpose of recording the official Christian name of a child and the admission record into the church/state of those eras. The Church and State were the two biggest powers in Europe where a majority of our church tradition falls from. There was no separation of church and state. There wasn’t a smorgasbord of church denominations operating freely. The State recognized a church and the church leadership did what the State told it to do.
So what does baptism mean today? Pick your type of baptism and inferred definition. There isn’t a clearly defined list of rules, but examples of baptism in the New Testament are very plentiful. If you mean “baptism of repentance” which John the Baptist performed, it should be performed upon someone who wants to define their new way and direction of life and a confession of faith.
There are many other past purposes of baptism that get all poured into one bucket of the word baptism and not all baptism purposes fit one religious definition.
The Dideche describes first century baptism of Gentile believers and the types of water and situations for baptism. Too much to describe here, but it had a great influence on early Church practices.
It is easier to pick your denomination preference and follow those traditions than try to redefine what it means. Just adopt what the group states it means and get on with becoming a disciple of Jesus the Messiah, King of the Jews.
Thank you Sean…
@anbugrace Sure thing The Lord Jesus be with you in all things!
I treated my own baptism as a child as something my parents decided for me to be part of “A” Church, then after I received Christ I Decided to Biblically Proclaimed my Commitment to Jesus as My Lord & Savior.
I have heard it said that today’s believers baptism is the old testament circumcision, to Be Set Apart, something like that, it made sense to me :).
Also it is not necessary when you are an adult, it is when you gave accepted Christ as your Savior & Lord.
Disobedience, not sure, BUT why wouldn’t one Want to say, “Hey Look At Me, I Belong To Jesus!”
And a believer post baptism when tempted by the enemy about something that WAS BURRIED in the Baptisms, can be Spoken in Jesus Name for the devil to flee!, also as our own sin Nature [can’t always blame the devil! Don’t B - Lame and always blame another for your sinning! Take responsibility and stop (for example watching a certain tv show that brings up sinful temptations from your past) feeding your soul & flesh, but instead feed your Spirit, Soul & your flesh will follow.
If my Spirit is an engine of a train and my flesh is the caboose, and my soul and heart are the cars in between, I ONLY want to travel on the tracks of life from the engine, to not only get me up a Mountain, but through valleys too.
OK I think I got off subject.
But thanks for the question.
Thank you Jeff for that wonderful writing. Baptism is the testimony given before the world that we belong to Jesus. That is what I believe…