Reasons why we must baptize infants
- * Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called
- * The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth (CCC 1250)
- * Original sin is a reality from which each and every human person desperately needs to be freed. Biblically speaking, Romans 5:12 is remarkably clear on this point
- * Even if nothing else was said in Scripture implying infant baptism, we could conclude it to be necessary just from this simple fact: babies need to have original sin removed from their souls.
Catholics Are So Jewish
- * A Jew became a Jew when he was circumcised on the eighth day. They did not have to first “accept Moses as their personal prophet” before they could be circumcised.
- * according to St. Paul, baptism is the fulfillment of circumcision:
- In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; …you were buried with him in Baptism" (Colossians 2:11-12)
- * The Greek indicates that baptism is the circumcision of Christ!
- * Many were being persecuted because they chose to baptize their children instead of circumcising them. As St. Paul says in Romans 2:28
- * What is this “spiritual circumcision” of which St. Paul speaks? Baptism, according to Colossians 2:11-12. Not the shedding of foreskin, but the transformation of the inward man through the sacrament.
- * baptism does something circumcision could never do: "baptism now saves [us]" (I Peter 3:21). The change that occurs is not physical; it is spiritual
- * As it is often said, what you don’t see is what you get in all of the sacraments, baptism included.
- * baptism is more inclusive than its Old Testament antecedent. You had to be a free, male, Jew to be circumcised.
- * in the New Testament baptism is open to all. Of course, babies would be included.
Implications of Circumcision
- * Peter preached to thousands of Jews, who already had an understanding of their faith involving a family covenant
- * If Peter believed baptism was exclusive to adults, he was a terrible teacher!
Catholics Are So… New Testament
- * hese were not just children who were being brought to Jesus, the Greek word here is "brephe," which mean infants. And again, the Jews listening would understand that the parents’s belief and obedience suffices for the child until he is old enough to own his own faith.
- * parents bringing children to Christ, according to Christ, is equivalent to the children coming to him on their ow
- * because babies are icons of what we all should be, i.e., they put up no obstacles to the work of God in their lives, and they can most obviously do absolutely nothing to merit anything from God, they are reminders of “the sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation” as CCC 1250 say
- * rom the very beginning whole “households” received baptism. There is no reason to believe infants would not have been included
- * When St. Paul led the Philippian jailer to Christ in Acts 16, he said to him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31, emphasis added). He does not say that all in his household must first believe. He simply says they will all be saved. How could he say that? St. Paul seems to have understood what St. Peter had already preached back when Paul was still persecuting Christians (in Acts 2:38). The promise of faith and baptism is for the jailer and his children.
First Come Faith?
- * Jesus did not say faith must precede baptism for an individual. He simply said one has to believe and be baptized in order to be saved. He said nothing about the two having to be accomplished in that order for the individual
- * even if we were to accept as fact that faith must come first, even though Mark 16:16 does not say that, this would not exclude the possibility that the faith of the parents could not suffice until the child reaches the age of accounatability.
- * A baby cannot believe. Does that mean all babies who die without believing will not be saved? Of course not! The thief on the cross was presumably not baptized. Does that mean he would not go to heaven? Of course not! Belief and baptism are necessary to those who have the opportunity to do so. If they were to be impeded from being able to believe or be baptized, and that could be the case for many different reasons, God would judge them in accordance with what they were responsible fo
- * Sometimes we are accountable not just for ourselves, but for others as well (see Ez. 3:18-19). Parents are responsible to baptize their babies. If they knowingly do not do so, they break God's covenant in a very serious matter
- * it was the faith of those who brought the paralytic to Christ that God used instrumentally for the salvation of the paralytic: “… when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven’” (Matt. 9:2). Whose faith did Jesus "see" here? “Their” seems to refer back to the “they” of the same verse
- * The faith of the parent suffices when they bring their infants to be blessed by Christ via "the circumcision of Christ."
Circumcision and Justification
- * “We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham… before he was circumcised” (Romans 4:9-10). So doesn’t this prove baptism does not save us either?
- * 1. As I said above, baptism is the fulfillment of that which was only a type in the Old Testament. The fulfillment is always more glorious than the type. Thus, “baptism does now save you” (I Peter 3:21) in a way that circumcision could not
- * 2. It is not a contradiction to say both faith and circumcision were necessary to remain within God’s covenant in the Old Testament, even though circumcision played no role in initial justification.
- * 3. The faith of the parents sufficed when it came to circumcising a child. Do we not see that principle in the New Testament as well? Jesus saw the faith of the friends of the paralytic and healed the paralytic in Matt. 9:2. When people cannot have faith, the faith of family or friends suffices. So it is with infants. The faith of the parents sanctifies the children as St. Paul says in I Cor. 7:14. This is just as much a New Testament concept as it is an Old Testament concept.