GBC BAPTISM CLASS
Grace Bible Church, Gillette, Wyoming
Pastor Daryl Hilbert
I. GBC BAPTISM PROTOCOL
A. Take Baptism Class
B. Meet with elders and give a clear testimony of salvation.
C. Receive instruction on how, when, and where to be publicly baptized.
II. THE EXPLANATION OF SALVATION
A. Everyone is a Sinner (Rom 3:10, 23)
B. God is Holy and Righteous (Psa 99:5; Hab 1:13a; Rom 6:23a)
C. Christ Died for our Sins (Rom 5:8; 2Co 5:21)
D. Faith Must Be Exercised in Christ Alone (Joh 1:12; 3:16)
E. Christ provides forgiveness of sin and eternal life (Joh 5:24; Rom 6:23b)
F. Baptism is not a part of salvation (1Co 1:17; Eph 2:8-9)
III. THE INSTITUTION OF BAPTISM
A. It Was Commanded By Christ (Mat 28:19).
1. Christ’s command is actually to “make disciples” (mathęteusate - aor. act. imper.). However, in making disciples, it is necessary that a repentant sinner be converted and then be baptized.
2. Disciples are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is a direct reference to the Trinity.
3. Furthermore, after being converted, disciples are to be taught and encouraged to grow in Christ (20).
B. It Was Administered To Christ (Mat 3:13-16).
1. Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist (13), whose baptism was a baptism of repentance and preparation for the Messiah (Mat 3:11; Mar 1:4; Luk 3:3).
2. Since Christ was the sinless Savior, he was baptized in order to follow and “fulfill all righteousness” (15).
3. Since Christ was the mediator, he was also baptized in order to be identified with sinful man (Luk 3:21).
C. It Was Approved By Christ (Joh 4:1-2).
1. Though Jesus himself did not baptize, he instructed and superintended his disciples to baptize.
2. The disciples’ baptism would have been a baptism in acknowledgement that Jesus is the Messiah, not having yet died on the cross.
D. It Was Practiced By The Early Church (Act 8:34-38; 18:7-8).
1. It was the common practice of the early church to immediately baptize those who believed on Christ as Messiah.
2. In Acts 8:34-38 the eunuch was well aware that baptism was an identification with belief in Christ and Christianity.
3. In Acts 18:7-8, many believers were baptized immediately after believing.
IV. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM
A. It Is A Public Confession Of Salvation.
1. We are saved when faith is exercised in Christ’s work on the cross (Rom 10:9-10).
2. “Confession” (homologeō - say same thing, agree) is an outward evidence of internal faith.
3. Baptism is an initial opportunity to profess our internal faith in Christ.
B. It Is An Identification With Christ’s Death And Resurrection.
1. Water baptism is a picture of spiritual baptism.
2. At the moment of faith (not water baptism) in Christ, the believer is spiritually baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection.
3. Christ’s death cut off the power of sin (not the presence of sin) in the believer (Rom 6:6) and Christ’s resurrection gives new life to the believer (Rom 6:4).
4. It is also an identification with the body of Christ (1Co 12:13).
C. It Is An Obedience To Christ’s Command.
1. Christ commanded the church to administer baptism to converts (Mat 28:19).
2. A true evidence of salvation for the believer is an obedient life.
3. Baptism then, is one of the initial acts of obedience for the new believer.
D. It Is Not For Baptismal Regeneration.
1. Baptismal Regeneration
a) Baptismal Regeneration is the belief that baptism is essential to salvation and results in the remission of sins.
b) Paul refutes baptismal regeneration when he states that Christ did not send him to baptize but to preach the gospel (1Co 1:17). If baptism were necessary for salvation, then it would have been part of the Paul’s gospel.
c) Salvation is by grace through faith, and not by works (Eph 2:8-9). Those who hold to Baptismal Regeneration make baptism a work for salvation.
d) The Scriptures teach faith in Christ alone is the requirement for salvation. This conclusion is implied in the Gospel of John where the word, “believe” is used some 88 times (Joh 20:31). The same conclusion is found in Acts where “believe” is used some 46 times (Act 16:31).
2. Problem Passages
a) Mar 16:16
(1) Mar 16:16 does not teach baptismal regeneration.
(2) Baptism was synonymous with belief in the early church, not because belief plus baptism saved, but because it was customary for a convert to be baptized immediately (Act 2:41; Act 8:12; Act 8:36-38; Act 9:18; Act 16:15; Act 16:31-33; Act 18:8).
(3) The passage teaches faith is the sole means of salvation and the absence of faith (not baptism) results in condemnation.
b) Act 2:38
(1) Act 2:38 does not teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.
(2) Unfortunately, the Greek emphasis is difficult to see in English.
(3) Literally it is, “All of you (plural) repent, and each of you (singular) be baptized”
(a) The idea is that all are under the general call of the gospel to “repent.”
(b) However, the ones who received salvation, were admonished to follow in obedience by being baptized.
(c) “For” (epi with the dative) can also mean “on the basis of,” i.e. “on the basis of forgiveness of sins.”
(4) A.T. Robertson (Forefather of Greek grammarians): “My view is decidedly against the idea that Peter, Paul, or any one in the New Testament taught baptism as essential to the remission of sins or the means of securing such remission. So I understand Peter to be urging baptism on each of them who had already turned (repented) and for it to be done in the name of Jesus Christ on the basis of the forgiveness of sins which they had already received.” (WP loc.)
c) Act 22:16
(1) Act 22:16 does not view baptism as a part of a formula for salvation.
(2) The Greek shows that the phrases in this passage are not connected but are clearly two separate phrases.
(a) Phrase #1 - “After rising (participle) you yourself be baptized (imperative);”
(b) Phrase #2 - “and wash away your sins (imperative) after calling (participle) on the name of the Lord”
(3) If baptism washed away sins, there would not be two separate commands.
(4) Ryrie: “Arising is necessary before baptism, and calling before sins can be washed away.” (BT 337)
(a) having risen, baptize thyself, and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord. (Young’s Literal Translation)
(b) Arise and get baptized, and have thy sins washed away, calling on his name. (Darby)
(c) having arisen, get thyself baptized and get thy sins washed away, calling on his name. (Lenski)
V. THE MODE OF BAPTISM
A. The word “baptism” is a transliteration from the Greek verb baptizō.
B. There are three modes of baptism practiced today: Sprinkling, Pouring, or Immersion.
1. Sprinkling (Aspersion)
a) Some argue that there were certain OT rituals involving sprinkling (Num 8:7). However, most OT references involve sprinkling with blood not water (Exo 29:21; Lev 5:9; Num 18:17).
b) Some claim that sprinkling best pictures the cleansing of the Spirit in Ezek. 36:25. But, Eze 36:25 is speaking about Israel’s cleansing from idolatry.
c) Another argument is that Immersion was improbable and impossible in certain circumstances (Act 2:41 “three thousand”; Act 8:38, 26 “desert road” ; Act 16:33, 32 “in his house” ) (See Immersion, #6)
d) Some use Heb 9:10 to argue for sprinkling when it mentions, “various baptisms.” However, Judaism did not practice baptism (except with proselytes) and most Bible versions translate the noun, baptismoi as washings (ceremonial). Furthermore, the first known mention of sprinkling wasn’t until Cyprian (A. D. 248)
e) The majority of denominations sprinkle with water (Catholic, Lutheran, and some Reformed). But, denominational majority never supersedes biblical principles.
2. Pouring (Affusion)
a) Historically, pouring was applied by the one baptizing pouring water three times over the head of the one being baptized—once for each member of the Trinity. (Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology)
b) Some claim that pouring best illustrates the Holy Spirit being “poured” on those who trust Christ (Act 2:17-18).
(1) Actually, Peter is quoting from Joel 2:28-29, which refers to the Spirit’s ministry during the Millennium.
(2) The typical NT expression for the Holy Spirit with regard to the believer is “indwelling” (1Co 3:16).
c) Paintings in the catacombs, picture the candidate standing in waist high water while having water poured over them.
(1) In one of these subterraneous excavations [of the catacombs in Rome] is a fresco painting representing our Lord as standing waist deep in Jordan, while John, standing on a rock, is baptizing Him by pouring water on His head. (L.W. BATES, D. D., Water Baptism; p. 20)
(2) In another crypt, Jesus stands in the river and John stands upon the shore pouring water upon his head. This is attributed to the second century. (ibid.)
(3) The problem is that the paintings may be dated later than the first century and may reflect the contemporary tradition belief.
d) It is very possible that the early church practiced immersion unless they were unable to find a suitable water source. In which case, pouring may have been an acceptable alternative.
(1) But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize. Having first recited all these things, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living (running) water. But if thou has not living water, then baptize in other water; and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm. But if thou hast neither, then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Did. 7:1-3)
a) Immersion is the strongest view grammatically and contextually.
b) The word baptizō primarily means to dip or immerse.
c) The usages in Classical Greek illustrate the idea of immersion. It is used in reference to:
(1) Being drowned ( Epict.Gnom.47)
(2) Sinking a ship (Plb.1.51.6)
(3) Being over one’s head and up to one’s ears in debt (Plutarch.Galb.21)
(4) Getting into deep water (Plato. Euthydemus. 277d)
(5) Dipping a cup in a bowl (Aristophanes 14.5)
d) The usages in the New Testament illustrate the idea of immersion. It is used in reference to:
(1) Dipping the tip of a finger (Luk 16:24)
(2) Dipping food (Joh 13:26)
(3) A robe dipped in blood (Rev 19:13)
e) The phraseology of New Testament concerning baptism supports immersion:
(1) “plenty of water” (Joh 3:23).
(2) “up out of the water” (Mat 3:16).
(3) “went down into the water” (Act 8:38).
(4) “came up out of the water” (Act 8:39)
f) Immersion could have been accomplished in every instance in the NT.
(1) Act 2:41 “three thousand” - Sufficient pools existed in Jerusalem to accommodate 3,000 candidates.
(2) Act 8:38, 26 “desert road” - Even deserted areas (Gaza) were not waterless.
(3) Act 16:33, 32 “in his house” - Houses often contained pools.
(4) The early church Fathers looked for "rivers, fountains, pools, sea, lakes or canals." (Tertullian, "On Baptism” circa A.D. 200). Why would they have to do so if they were only pouring from a basin?
g) Immersion best portrays the believer’s identification with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6).
VI. DIFFERENT VIEWS ON BAPTISM
C. The Roman Catholic View
1. “By either awakening or strengthening faith, baptism effects the washing of regeneration”.
a) Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p.342)
b) Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and the word. (quote from Roman Catechism II,2,5; cf. Council of Florence)
2. Baptism is the ex operato (working of the element itself)
a) “Baptism not only purified from all sins, but also makes the neophyte ‘a new creature,’ an adopted son of God, who has become a ‘partaker of the divine nature,’ member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p.354)
3. Baptism eradicates both original sin and venial sin.
a) By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. (Catechism of the Catholic church, p.353)
4. Faith does not have to be present.
5. Therefore, baptism alone is the means of salvation.
a) Eph 2:8-9 teaches salvation is by grace through faith.
b) New Testament emphasis is on faith apart from works (Rom 3:28).
c) Even Mar 16:16 states faith has to be present.
D. The Lutheran View
1. Baptism imparts saving grace.
a) Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, (Augsburg Confession, 1530)
b) Therefore state it most simply thus, that the power, work, profit, fruit, and end of Baptism is this, namely, to save. For no one is baptized in order that he may become a prince, but, as the words declare, that he be saved. But to be saved we know is nothing else than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil, and to enter into the kingdom of Christ, and to live with Him forever. (The Large Lutheran Catechism)
2. In order for baptism to be effectual, there must also be saving faith.
a) That is, faith alone makes the person worthy to receive profitably the saving, divine water. For, since these blessings are here presented and promised in the words in and with the water, they cannot be received in any other way than by believing them with the heart. Without faith it profits nothing, notwithstanding it is in itself a divine superabundant treasure. (ibid.)
3. They would claim that baptism is incorporated with faith not works.
a) Though Mar 16:16 insists faith is a prerequisite for salvation, it does not suggest that baptism is also a prerequisite.
b) Though faith must precede baptism, it is faith alone that lays hold of Christ and His salvation. (Eph 1:3 cp. Eph 4:5; to incorporate baptism with faith for salvation violates Eph 2:8-9)
c) Jesus did not persuade people to be baptized, but to believe (Joh 3:18; 6:28-29)
d) Paul did not persuade people to be baptized but to trust in Christ (1Co 1:14, 17).
(1) The issue is a serious one: If baptism is essential for salvation, then to reject that gospel is to be damned; but if salvation is through faith in Christ alone, then to add baptism as a condition for salvation is to reject the true gospel and thus to be eternally lost. (Dave Hunt, In Defense of the Faith, p.309)
E. Church of Christ
1. Baptismal Regeneration is its distinctive trait.
a) Of the principles cited above, one characteristic marks most Christian Churches and Churches of Christ as distinctly different from other modern evangelical or fundamentalist Christian groups today. That is the teaching that a person is ultimately converted to Christ and saved through faith in Christ and obedience to him in a believer’s baptism. (Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ; www.wikipedia.com)
b) They teach that a believer’s baptism is Biblically… a work of God’s grace, not a work of man [and]… the occasion when one receives God’s forgiveness for their sins, (ibid.)
c) Of all its beliefs, the Church of Christ movement is perhaps best known for its view that water baptism is absolutely essential for salvation. (Hank Hannegraph, www.equip.org/free/CP0604.htm)
d) Further, let me remind you that the Campbellites, “the Christian Church” who practice immersion and adult baptism, are as in error concerning the teaching of Baptismal Regeneration as is the Roman Catholic Church. (Baptism by Francis A. Schaeffer)
e) Others say: you’re saved by water; the Christian Church, the Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ, have taught baptismal regeneration through the years: that you can’t get to heaven without going through the water. (John MacArthur Jr, Baptism, A Matter of Obedience)
f) In and by the act of immersion, as soon as our bodies are put under water, at that very instant our former or old sins are washed away. Immersion and regeneration are Bible names for the same act. It is not our faith in Gods promise of remission but our going down into the water that obtains the remission of sins. W. E. Garrison, Alexander Campbells Theology, 247-299
2. Baptism is part of their salvation formula.
a) The requirements for salvation are commonly presented in the following steps:
(1) Hearing (the Word of God)
(2) Believing (said Word)
(3) Repenting (of one’s sins)
(4) Confessing (that Jesus Christ is the Son of God)
(5) Being baptized (by full immersion).
(6) Continued faithfulness is enjoined because the Church of Christ denies the doctrine of eternal security. (Theory of Salvation; Soteriology; www.church-of-christ.org)
b) From this passage we go to what Jesus says is important for salvation:
(1) Believe – John 3:16 and 8:24;
(2) Repent – Luke 13:3-5;
(3) Confess – Matthew 10:32-33;
(4) Baptism – Mark 16:15-16 and Matthew 28:19-20. (Marshall Smith, Associate Pastor at West Way Christian Church. Published a book, Salvation: What Jesus Commands About Salvation)
3. Baptism is the means by which spiritual blessings are given.
a) You should know that by baptism:
(1) You are saved from sins (Mk 16:16 1 Pe 3:21)
(2) You have remission of sins (Acts 2:38)
(3) Sins are washed away by the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16; Heb 9:22; Heb 10:22; 1 Pe 3:21)
(4) You enter into the church (1Cointhians 12:13; Acts 2:41,47)
(5) You enter into Christ (Gal 3:26-27; Rom 6:3-4)
(6) You put on Christ and become a child of God (Gal 3:26-27)
(7) You are born again, a new creature (Rom 6:3-4; 2 Co 5:17)
(8) You walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3-6)
(9) You obey Christ (Mk 16:15-16; Acts 10:48; 2 Th 1:7-9) (www.church-of-christ.org)
4. They would claim baptism is a part of saving faith and that both are necessary for salvation.
a) Anything added to the finished work of Christ declares that Christ’s death is not efficient for salvation. Grace is only grace when it is received solely by faith (Rom 4:16; Gal 3:6-7; Gal 5:2-3).
b) The spiritual blessings in Christ also come at the moment of faith in Christ apart from any works, including baptism (Holy Spirit - Eph 1:3; Eph 1:13; access - Eph 3:12; spiritual baptism - Rom 6:3, 4 cp. 1Co 12:13).
c) To claim that faith and baptism are necessary for salvation is to make the unbiblical claim that faith and works are necessary for salvation (Eph 2:8-9).
d) See B. 4. A. “Baptismal Regeneration”
F. The Reformed View
1. The sacraments are outward signs and seals of an inward reality.
2. “Baptism is the act of faith by which we are brought into the covenant and hence experience its benefits.”
3. Baptism is the initiation into the covenant and a sign of salvation.
4. Quotes from Heidelberg Catechism (Christian Reformed Church)
a) (QuestionJ How does baptism remind you and assure you that Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross is for you personally?
(1) (AnswerJ Christ instituted this outward washing and with it gave the promise that, as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body, so certainly his blood and his Spirit wash away my soul’s impurity, in other words, all my sins.
b) (Question: Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins?
(1) (Answer: No, only Jesus Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins.
5. Westminster Confession
a) Although it is a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it: or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated. (WCF 28:5)
a) It appears contradictory to say that it is an outward sign, but that baptism brings us into the covenant.
b) We experience all the benefits of salvation the moment we believe, not after baptism (Eph 1:3).
c) A sign is not the agent, but a representation.
d) Nowhere in Scripture does it say that baptism is a seal or sign of a covenant.
e) Reformers hold to infant baptism, but where then is the act of faith.
G. The Baptist & Bible Church View
1. It is simply a testimony–an initial profession of faith that a believer makes publicly.
2. The symbol shows the community that the individual is now identified with Christ.
3. It is a sign or symbol of an inward reality and is not a sacrament.
a) The view of Baptists and others is that baptism is only an outward sign of an inward change. It serves as a public testimony of faith in Christ. (Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology)
b) [Baptism] is the public testimony by which a new believer identifies with the universal and local church. It is an act which signifies his salvation experience. (Derickson’s Notes on Theology)
c) Baptists emphasize a believer’s baptism by full immersion, which is performed on non-infants after a public profession of faith in Jesus as Saviour. (Baptist; www.wikipedia.com)
(1) Baptist churches are usually regarded as an Evangelical Protestant denomination originating from the English Puritan movement, when they were often called “ (meaning “again” , from Catholics at infancy requesting to be as an adult). (ibid.)
d) Baptism is a sign, or an outward indication, of the inner change that has already occurred in the believer’s life. It serves as a public identification of the person with Jesus Christ, and thus also as a public testimony of the change that has occurred. (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
4. There is no objective effect upon the person, but ought to have a subjective effect.
a) Some claim that the approach is limited to word and textual studies, not necessarily theological ideas. However, any other approach distorts the meaning of baptism, especially if one has to force it into a theological idea.
(1) William Shirreff, whose lectures on baptism come recommended by Charles H. Spurgeon, insists at great length that “the Scriptures of the New Testament are the only rule to direct us in regard to the positive institutions of the Gospel.”
b) Many New Testament verses closely link baptism and salvation. On the other hand, many more New Testament texts discuss salvation by faith apart from baptism; Act 16:30-31, Eph 2:8-9, 1Co 15:1-4 cf. 1Co 11: 23-28.
VII. INFANT BAPTISM
A. Roman Catholic View
1. Baptism confers salvation and faith is not necessary.
a) Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and the word. (quote from Roman Catechism II,2,5; cf. Council of Florence)
2. Therefore, Pedobaptism should be promoted at all costs
a) 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. (Catechism of the Catholic church, p.350)
B. Lutheran View
1. Through baptism, an individual is brought into the grace of God for salvation.
a) Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God. (The Augsburg Confession (1530); Article IX: Of Baptism)
2. Therefore, it is necessary to baptize infants so that they can be received into God’s grace.
a) … and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God’s grace. (ibid.)
3. Furthermore, they strongly oppose those who reject infant baptism.
a) They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism. (ibid.)
C. Methodist/Wesleyan View
1. Some Methodists hold to baptismal regeneration, but all Methodists practice infant baptism. Some see it as Covenantal Baptism.
a) Methodists justify infant baptism by this principle of prevenient grace, often arguing that infant baptism is God's promise or declaration to the infant that calls that infant to (eventually) believe in God's promises (God's Word) for salvation. (www.enwikipedia.org)
2. Traditionally, the Wesleyan Church has practiced infant baptism and many still do.
a) Baptism now replaces circumcision as the sign and seal of the covenant of grace. Therefore, it follows that ... infant children of Christian believers are proper subjects of baptism. (Pastor Dale Holloway, Living Hope Wesleyan Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.)
3. However, some Wesleyans take a liberal stance on infant baptism and leave it up to the parents of the infant.
a) The Wesleyan Church permits the baptism of infants, much to the dismay of some fellow Christians. We do not require it, nor even promote it, but for Christian parents who are very serious about their commitment and covenant relationship with God we permit infant baptism. Why? Of course the easy answer is our heritage--our denomination sprang from Methodism, John Wesley and the Church of England. (Keith Drury)
D. Reformed View
1. Baptism includes infants into the New Covenant.
2. Under the New Covenant, infants would not be saved, but would be “set apart”; would experience some of the blessings of a believing house; would be taught salvation by their dedicated parents.
3. Arguments for this position
a) Baptism is to the NT, what circumcision was to the OT. (Gen 17:7; Col 2:11-12)
(1) Arguments in favor of infant baptism include … the circumcision argument. Colossians 2:11-12 clearly links circumcision and baptism. Since infants were circumcised under the Old Covenant, they should be baptized under the New Covenant. The argument rests on the Covenant Theology concept of a single covenant of grace which involved an initiatory rite into that covenant, the rite being circumcision in the Old Testament and baptism in the New. These rites indicate membership in the covenant, not necessarily personal faith. (Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology, p.423)
(2) The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time. (Westminster Confession)
(a) Col 2:11-12 is not saying that circumcision is being replaced by baptism. Furthermore, the baptism spoken of here is spiritual baptism produced by the Holy Spirit.
(b) The idea of baptism replacing circumcision is foreign to the NT. “Covenant” is used; baptism is taught; but they never taught together.
(c) Jews were born into the covenant, circumcision was only a sign and a seal of that covenant, according to Gen.17:11.
(i) Israelites, however, were not partakers of their covenants on the ground of circumcision; they were born into covenant relationship to God. Therefore, it is not demonstrated that children by baptism become “children of the covenant,” (Chafer Vol VII p.42)
(d) Also notice that Paul had Timothy circumcised in Acts 16:3. Did he place Timothy under both the Old and New Covenant?)
(e) How does one explain that only males were circumcised, and on the eighth day (Gen 17:12).
(f) Faith in Christ gives us complete inheritance (Eph 1:3; Col 1:12)
b) Several recorded baptisms were given to households. The Reformed view would suggest that there were infants in at least one of those households. (Act 16:15; 16:33; 18:8; 1Co 1:16)
(a) There is no emphatic mention of infants included in the members of Lydia’s household that were baptized in Act 16:15. Notice Act 16:13 mentions only “women” who came to the river. Some of those “women” were members of Lydia’s household.
(b) Again, in Act 16:33, there is no specific mention of infants being in the household. What is mentioned is that there must be first “belief” and then baptism (cp. 16:31). There must also be understanding to have belief. An infant cannot understand; therefore an infant cannot believe. Paul spoke to everyone in the house, I doubt this meant infants (cp. 16:32).
(c) From Acts 18:8, the same problems exist. There is no specific mention of infants and it is clear from the text that there was first hearing and belief then baptism.
(d) In 1Co 1:16, no details are given whatsoever. But it is interesting to look at the following verse. Paul says he was not sent to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. If baptism is an initiation into the covenant, then Paul downplays the whole biblical concept.
(e) Likewise, in Acts 11:14, there is no mention about baptism at all. The only thing mentioned is belief.
c) Some of the early Church Fathers speak of Pedobaptism.
(1) Eighty-six years have I served him (Polycarp 156 AD)
(2) The Church has received a tradition from the Apostles to give baptism to little children (Origen on Romans V ix.3)
(a) There is a difference between infant baptism and the baptism of believing children.
(b) There is a difference between the church of the New Testament and the Early Church Fathers
(c) Some of the Early Church Fathers believed in baptismal regeneration, in which even the Reformed View diverges.
d) Baptism consecrates children in a believing home (1Co 7:14)
(1) Baptism is never mentioned in this passage.
(2) If it is baptism that consecrates infants, then how does the unbelieving spouse become consecrated, by baptism? The Reformed say not.
(3) This passage teaches that a believer does not have to divorce an unbelieving spouse. The marriage is not nullified, nor will the unbeliever prevent God’s blessing.
(a) Clearly he only means that the marriage relation is sanctified so that there is no need of a divorce. If either husband or wife is a believer and the other agrees to remain, the marriage is holy and need not be set aside. (RWP)
E. The Baptist & Bible Church View
1. Since belief is the criterion, only believing-adults and believing-children should be baptized (Act 16:31).
2. Since infants cannot believe, infants should not be baptized (Act 2:41 - “those who accepted the message”; Act 8:12 - “men and women”; Act 8:39 - “The eunuch”).
3. Child Dedication is more in line with Scripture (1Sa 1:27-28).
4. Parent Dedication is the real key (Eph 6:4; Pro 22:6).
5. All good men will not agree with me when I say that the addition of infant baptism to the Word of God for it certainly is not there is fraught with mischief. Baptismal regeneration rides in upon the shoulders of Pedobaptism. But I speak now of what I know. I have received letters from missionaries, not Baptists, but Wesleyans and Congregationalists, who have said to me, "Since we have been here" (I will not mention the localities lest I get the good men into trouble) "we find a class of persons who are the children of former converts, and who have been baptized, and are therefore called Christians; but they are not one whit better than the heathen around them. They seem to think that they are Christians because of their baptism, and at the same time, being thought Christians by the heathen, their evil lives are perpetual scandal and a dreadful stumblingblock." In many cases this must be so. (Spurgeon)
6. The examples in the New Testament indicate that believers were baptized right after they believed. No probationary period is indicated, though such might be justified in order to attest to the genuineness of the faith. (Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology p. 423-4)