Paedobaptism
(Infant Baptism)

Vs.

Credobaptism
(Believer's Baptism)

 

 



PaedoBaptism Articles: CredoBaptism Articles:
The Sacraments Of The New Testament A String Of Pearls Unstrung
God's Grandchildren A Critical Evaluation Of PaedoBaptism
PaedoBaptism  (from Calvin's Institutes) The Practice of the Early Church
  Baptism and Covenant Theology
Holy Communion Article: A Scriptural Critique of Infant Baptism
Restricted Communion  



 

MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY ON THIS ISSUE

I would like to say first that although Baptism is an important doctrine, it is a secondary doctrine. Certainly, an issue for healthy and edifying discussion, but not an issue that should cause division among the brethren. There are surely true believers in Christ on both sides of this issue.

I had believed in paedobaptism for the past few years, but, after listening to a debate on the subject of baptism and checking out the verses in question, I have changed my views on this subject. I have come to prefer the credobaptism viewpoint and I would like to share with you exactly what changed my mind about this.

The "household" verses and Acts 2:38-41 are usually the main focus points used for both sides of the baptism issue. I examined these verses and found that I was making not one, but two basic errors with the verses speaking about households being baptized. On the examples that I will cite, I was guilty of (1) isolating the verses & (2) assuming that "whole" meant "every individual in the household". After checking out the context further, I saw nearby verses that "qualified" what group of people were being spoken of in those "whole" households. The following are the examples:




1)   Acts 10:1-2   There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, (2) a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
Acts 10:24   And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.
Acts 10:44-48   While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. (45) And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. (46) For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, (47) "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" (48) And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

These verses are speaking about Cornelius's household. I looked for a "qualifier" in the context of these verses. The qualifiers that I found are in verses 44 & 47 - those baptized were those who "heard the word" & "have received the Holy Spirit". Infants are unable to hear & understand the gospel, so they cannot be a part of this group. It's clearly evident that only those who believed were baptized. In addition, there's no mention of any infants being in this family.



2)   Acts 16:14-15   Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. (15) And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." So she persuaded us.

This example isn't as plain as the previous example. But this example does say that Lydia's heart was opened to hear & understand the gospel & thus came to believe and was then baptized with her household. (no mention of infants)



3)   Acts 16:30-34    And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (31) So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." (32) Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. (33) And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. (34) Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

It's plainly stated that his whole household believed: "he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household". They were not all baptized solely because the jailer believed. Salvation occurs because of election, not genealogy.





The following sets of verses deal with the covenant aspect of the baptism issue:

Acts 2:29-42   "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. (30) Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, (31) he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. (32) This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. (33) Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. (34) "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, (35) TILL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES YOUR FOOTSTOOL." ' (36) "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." (37) Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (38) Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (39) For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (40) And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." (41) Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (42) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

During the time that I was believing in paedobaptism, I hung onto the following phrase from verse 39 as proof - "For the promise is to you and to your children". I had believed that the promise referred to a covenant promise. But, what really sealed the issue for me was when, in the debate mentioned earlier, Dr. James White asked the question, "What is the promise?". This question really jumped out at me. Dr. White then pointed out that the promise is salvation (which is what the context is speaking of [vs.33 - ...the promise of the Holy Spirit...]); this promise was made to "as many as the Lord our God will call" [God's electing grace]. This made me realize that I was isolating verses 38-39. As further proof, vs. 41 states that those who were baptized were those "who gladly received his word". Infants cannot, normally, repent (vs. 38) nor can they "gladly receive his word" (vs. 41), thus they cannot be a part of the promise (in vs. 39) until they are able to understand & believe. Also, "children" in verse 39 can mean "following generations" and not necessarily "immediate physical offspring".

("you & your children and all who are afar off"  =  Jew & Gentile believers in Christ)

Also check out:  Romans 9:8  "That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed".
{Salvation occurs because of election, not genealogy.}

And before salvation we are children of wrath, not children of God as Eph. 2:1-5 states:
Ephesians 2:1-5   And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, (2) in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, (3) among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5) even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),




These facts, along with the following verses cited from the book of Hebrews, are what finally convinced me that Credobaptism is the true doctrine concerning Baptism.


Hebrews 8:6-13   But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. (7) For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. (8) Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; (9) "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. (10) "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (11) "None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (12) "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." (13) In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

These verses in Hebrews 8 show unbelievers in the first covenant {Covenant of Works}.
Verse 9 states: "they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them";
thus indicating unbelievers in the group.


But the newer covenant {Covenant of Grace} contains only believers {the elect} as the following illustrates:
verse 11 states: "for ALL shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them"  &
verse 12 states: "I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more"
Thus indicating a strong argument in favor of "believer-only baptism".
Also in verse 11, "all" DOES mean EVERY individual {of this group}, because the verse also clarifies the meaning here by further stating -
"from the least of them to the greatest of them".


Hebrews 10:14-22   For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (15) But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, (16) "THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR HEARTS, AND IN THEIR MINDS I WILL WRITE THEM," (17) then He adds, "THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE." (18) Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. (19) Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, (20) by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, (21) and having a High Priest over the house of God, (22) let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Romans 9:6-8  But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, (7) nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "IN ISAAC YOUR SEED SHALL BE CALLED." (8) That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.
Romans 9:11-13  (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), (12) it was said to her, "THE OLDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER." (13) As it is written, "JACOB I HAVE LOVED, BUT ESAU I HAVE HATED."


Jeremiah 31:31-34  "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— (32) not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. (33) But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (34) No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
Jeremiah 32:38-40   They shall be My people, and I will be their God; (39) then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. (40) And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.
Ezekiel 36:24-27   "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. (25) "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. (26) "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (27) "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

Colossians 2:11-14   In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, (12) buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (13) And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, (14) having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Romans 10:9-10  that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.



The following verses show belief first and then baptism:

Acts 8:36-38   Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" (37) Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (38) So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

Acts 2:41   Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

Acts 10:47-48   "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" (48) And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Acts 18:8   Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.

Galatians 3:26-29   For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (27) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Romans 9:6-8  But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, (7) nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "IN ISAAC YOUR SEED SHALL BE CALLED." (8) That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

Mark 16:16   He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
These verses show:
1)  a refutation of baptismal regeneration; it's faith that counts.
2)  a strong indication that true believers will desire to be baptized.
3)  New Covenant members(the invisible church) are there by Election, rather than by geneology.



The following verses show that water baptism is only a sign of spiritual baptism.

Luke 3:16  John answered, saying to all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

John 7:37-39  On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (38) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (39) But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Acts 1:4-5  And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; (5) for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."


RELATED ARTICLES:

Circumcision and Baptism

Does Acts 2:39 Teach Infant Baptism?