Infant Baptism

What Saith the Scriptures?

We refuse to baptize infants not because God has made a direct statement or command to that effect, but because God has set criteria for baptism which infants do not meet. The Hebrew writer clearly sets forth the biblical principle that where God has regulated, anything or anyone that does not fall within the bounds of that regulation is not acceptable to God (Heb 7:14). Since God decreed that Aaron’s descendants from the tribe of Levi would be priests (Num 18), those from any other tribe were excluded from being priests. Likewise, if infants do not meet the prerequisites for baptism, infants are excluded from being baptized for the forgiveness of sins. The following are criteria for a person to be baptized. We must determine if infants meet these requirements.

Knowledge of God: The Hebrew writer in Heb 8:11 quotes the prophecy of Jer 31:34 which states that, unlike Judaism into which one was born into God’s covenant nation and then taught of God, the Christian first learns the elementary principles of God and of salvation and then is born into the kingdom of God. Can an infant learn abstract concepts such as being “slaves to sin” (Rom 6:16-23), “propitiation (expiatory sacrifice) for our(the) sins” (Heb 2:17, 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10 cf Rom 3:25) or “resurrection from(of) the dead” (Rom 6:5, 1 Cor 15:20-24, Phil 3:8-11, Heb 6:1-2)? If not, infants cannot enter the kingdom by being “born of water and the Spirit” (Jn 3:5).

Obedience: God has required obedience to His precepts since the creation of man (Gen 2:16-17). God’s blessings and curses are predicated upon obedience to His word (Deut 30, Jn 3:36). Obedience to the truth is required to purify the soul (1 Pet 1: 22-23). Is the soul of the infant unclean? Christ is the source of eternal salvation only to those who obey Him (Heb 5:8-10). We cannot reach Christ’s blood for the redemption of our souls without obedience (1 Pet 1:1-2; 17-19). We cannot receive the blessings of the Holy Spirit without obedience (Acts 5:32). If we fail to obey, the wrath and indignation of God awaits us (Rom 2:5-8, 2 Thess 1:6-8). Only if an infant has the capacity to obey or to disobey, does the infant need access to the blood of Christ through baptism.

Belief: Jn 8:24 states that one who does not believe in Jesus Christ will “die in their sins”. Forgiveness of sin requires belief in Jesus Christ (Acts 10:43). Belief is based upon examination of the Scriptures (Acts 17:11-12, Jn 12:46-50; 20:31, 1 Thess 2:13). Baptism is of no spiritual effect unless one believes (Mk 16:16). Therefore belief is necessary prior to baptism. This principle is exemplified in Acts 8:12, 35-38, 16:31-33 and 18:8. The infant “who comes to God must believe that He is, and {that} He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb 11:6). If an infant cannot develop a belief in Jesus Christ through a diligent study of the “faith which was once for all delivered” (Jude 3), baptism does not save “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” but is merely “the removal of the dirt from the flesh” and not “an appeal to God for a good conscience” (1 Pet 3:21).

Repentance: Jesus states that unless we repent we will die in our sins (Lk 13:3,5). Paul preached its absolute necessity (Acts 17:30-31; 20:18-21; 26:15-20) to be pleasing to God. Peter states that we will perish in the day of judgement if we do not repent (2 Pet 3:7-9). Repentance leads to life and salvation (Acts 11:18, 2 Cor 7:10). Jesus taught that repentance precedes forgiveness of sins (Lk 24:45-47) and Peter, by inspiration, states that repentance is required before baptism (Acts 2:38). If an infant is incapable of repenting (Does the infant have any sin to repent of?), baptism is useless.

Confession: Paul affirms that salvation requires the mouth confessing Jesus as Lord (Rom 10:8-10). Phillip “preached Jesus” the result of which was a confession that “Jesus Christ is the Son of God” before being buried with Christ in baptism (Acts 8:35-38, Rom 6:3-7). Jesus taught that for Him to confess us as His we must confess Him before men (Mt 10:32-33, Lk 12:8-9). Although these last two passages primarily deal with our actions and speech after becoming a child of God and joint heir with Christ, they would of necessity include the first step in the journey to eternal life with God. Thus, if an infant cannot verbalize that Jesus Christ is the Son of God before baptism and, after baptism, by word and deed demonstrate to a lost and sinful world that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, then their baptism is vain.

Thus it is clear that infants do not meet the criteria for baptism. What then do we conclude to be the state of their souls. Jesus teaches, “And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, ‘Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” (Mt 18:2-4). Paul states, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be babes, but in your thinking be mature.” (1 Cor 14:20). The principle implicit in these verses is that infants and young children are in a safe condition as they have not sinned, cannot differentiate between good and evil and cannot “understand what the will of Lord is” (Eph 5:17). Until the criteria above are met, infants and young children have no need for the saving grace of God through baptism.


Why then does the world assume that infant baptism is appropriate? The Bible does not teach it by statement, command, example or necessary inference. Appeals are made to assume, without any textual necessity, that Cornelius, the Philippian jailor or Lydia must surely have had children in their households. The record clearly shows that all those in the household of Cornelius gathered to HEAR all that was commanded by the Lord (Acts 10:33), all learned to FEAR God and DO what is right (Acts 10:35), all that were baptized had LISTENED, SPOKEN with tongues and EXALTED God (Acts 10:44-48) and were saved through obeying the WORDS SPOKEN (Acts 11:14). Thus, if any children were in this group, they were capable of understanding the spoken word of God, of recognizing that they had sinned and of exalting God by words of their mouth. Likewise, in the other household baptisms mentioned in Acts, there is no indication that the clear pattern of hearing, believing, repenting and confessing before baptism was not followed. There is also no secular record of the first century church practicing infant baptism. The first examples of infant baptism are not found until the late second century and then only tolerated. By the late third century the practice was common but it was not until the sixth century that infant baptism became the mandated practice (Justinian’s Code) of the apostate church influenced by Augustine’s doctrine of original sin (Ezekiel 18 esp 20, 21, 24 and James 1:14-15 are among the scripture which refute this false doctrine). Thus infant baptism has its roots in the traditions of men just as chief bishops, councils of chief bishops, sprinkling for immersion and state enforced baptism.


The preceding scriptural evidence should lead you to conclude that infant baptism is not required by God. Consequently, if you can understand the scriptural argument, YOU ARE of such an age to be subject to the requirements of God. Have YOU followed “the elementary teaching about the Christ” and gone on to the solid food of “the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Heb 5:11-6:2).