The Church of England, the Catholic Church, and others have for many years practiced something known as infant baptism. We’ll not deal in this article with the mistake they make in regards to sprinkling or pouring instead of immersing (Romans 6:3,4; Colossians 2:12). Instead, we want to deal briefly with this concept of baptizing an infant.
Baptism in the New Testament is for the remission of sins. That is, its purpose is to wash away the sins of the one being baptized. Many passages show this truth, but two will suffice to prove our case. Saul was told, “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins…” (Acts 22:16). Peter stated, “…let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). These passages make it clear that the purpose of baptism is to wash away sins. Infants have no ability to understand sin, much less to actually commit sin! Therefore, baptism is not for them. Some teach that children are born sinners, that is, they are born with sin already charged against them. The bible clearly states, however, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father…” (Eze. 18:20). This fact, along with the fact that baptism is for the purpose of washing away sins, clearly demonstrates the futility of baptizing infants.
Advocates of infant baptism point to the baptism of the households of Lydia (Acts 16:15), the Philippian jailor (Acts 16:33, 34), and Stephanas (1 Cor. 1:16) in order to justify infant baptism. They conclude that surly infants were included in these households, therefore, infants were baptized. This conclusion is false for two reasons. First, these texts NEVER mention the presence of infants in these households. This is purely assumption on their part. Second, we know there were no infants baptized from these households because, as we have already pointed out, baptism’s purpose is to wash away sins. Infants don’t have sins! Furthermore, baptism is for believers (Mark 16:16). Can infants believe?
We do not maintain that infants do not or can not go to heaven should they die in their infant stage. Sin causes spiritual death, separates one from God, hence restricts one from entering heaven (Isa. 59:1,2; Rom. 6:23). Infants do not sin; therefore, they are not barred from heaven. We generally refer to them as being “safe” rather than “saved.” Since they have no sin, they have nothing to be “saved” from.
Infant baptism is a vain tradition of men, and certainly not taught in the Gospel of Christ.