Q. Should infants also be baptized?
A. Yes.Infants as well as adults are included in God’s covenant and people (1) and they, no less than adults, are promised deliverance from sin through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit who produces faith (2). Therefore, by baptism, the sign of the covenant, they too should be incorporated into the Christian church and distinguished from the children of unbelievers (3). This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision (4), which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism (5).
Read: (1) Gen. 17:7; Matt. 19:14; (2) Isa. 44:1-3; Acts 2:38-39; 16:31; (3) Acts 10:47; 1 Cor. 7:14: (4) Gen. 17:9-14; (5) Col. 2:11-13.
By now dear sister, we know that baptism does not save us but that baptism is important because it was Jesus Himself who commanded it. But, do all Christians have the same view on how baptism works? Let’s study different historical views of baptism as we study question 74 of The Heidelberg Catechism.
Roman Catholics belief that baptism is the way people become saved. The belief that baptism is what saves them. Only by being baptized is their sin forgiven and then they can participate in other sacraments. They say that baptism is regeneration and through the water, the Holy Spirit brings about regeneration. This, as we have seen is an unbiblical truth because nothing we do can ever save us. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone for His glory alone and Roman Catholics negate justification by grace and attribute salvation to works, starting with baptism. This is unbiblical.
Now generally speaking Reformed denominations divide themselves in two: those who believe in infant baptism (paedobaptists) and those who believe in believer’s baptism (credobaptists). Although they don’t agree with one another, both love and follow Jesus and hence, even when we disagree, it is on a secondary issue of how and not the why and so, we should learn to disagree in grace, understanding that what is at stake is unity in the Gospel.
Paedobaptists: Unlike Roman Catholics, they do not believe that through the water there is regeneration. The infants who get baptized do not automatically go to heaven. Paedobaptists see baptism similarly to circumcision. In Genesis all those promises that God gave to Abraham and His children (Gn. 15) were sealed by circumcision (Gn. 17). Circumcision was a seal, a marking, a sign of this pact. Ishmael received this covenant seal even though Isaac was the child of the promise. Because circumcision was given to those born into the covenant despite of them not having come to the spiritual understanding of that promise, and due to the fact that paedobaptists equate circumcision in the Old Testament to baptism in the New Testament, infants too can be baptized. These children are baptized hoping that eventually they embrace saving faith, and not because they have expressed faith in Christ. As children being born of believers, they are born within the covenant people of Christ and therefore, as a sign of this inclusion, they sprinkle water on infants hoping that in a future, that child may come to faith in Christ.
Credobaptists: According to credobaptists, or believer’s baptism, baptism should only be administered to those who having heard the Gospel of Christ believe. Baptism is made through sumersion. Baptism portrays a public assent of membership in the body of Christ by faith alone in Him alone. Baptism does not save but is merely an external expresión of the faith and it represents what happened internally. They think that a profession of faith is needed for anyone to be baptized and therefore infants should not be baptized.
So dear sister, a short and very simplistic view on baptism but very important for us to understand. Again, reformed churches do not believe that baptism saves. Only Jesus saves. Some believe that infants should be baptized, others believe that baptism is for believers alone. Regardless of where you stand it is important to learn what is Biblical and what is not and to learn that as believers who may not see eye to eye on secondary doctrines, we should strive to maintain the unity in Christ.
For His glory. #enthralledbygrace