Is Baptism to be administered to children or to adults?
The Bible is very clear on the fact that Baptism was never administered to children, and the churches that do so, are following a tradition brought forth by the Roman Catholic Church. This tradition has absolutely no Scriptural authority whatsoever. The spiritual pre-conditions preceding baptism, makes it very clear as to why an infant cannot be baptised, and why it is limited to people who are required to take responsible decisions for themselves. Such people should be mature enough to accept the Plan of Salvation which the Almighty has worked out for those who believe the Gospel. Baptism is a part of the Salvation Plan and can only be beneficial to persons who are prepared to subject themselves to the spiritual meaning and purpose of Baptism. The Saviour said, “He who believes and is baptised will be saved” (Mark 16:16) .
These conditions of Baptism are recorded in –
Acts 2:37-41 “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptised everyone of you … for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit … So those who accepted His Word were baptised”.
Thus it was only after the hearers understood what was required of them to be saved, that they accepted the Divine Plan of Salvation. Then only were they baptised.
The Holy Scriptures make it very clear to whom baptism was administered by Philip in Samaria.
Acts 8:12-13 “But when they believed Philip as he preached the Good News about the Kingdom. . , they were baptised, both men and women”.
Acts 8:36-39 “And as they went along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water, what is to prevent my being baptised?’ And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’…,and he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water … and he baptised him.”
From these Scriptures, it is absolutely clear that the person to be baptised, first had to be preached to so that he or she could come to a repentance. Secondly, the candidate had to believe and accept. Thirdly, the person had to be taught what was expected of believers according to Scripture. Fourthly, the Scriptures clearly teach that people were baptised for the Forgiveness of their sins.
Can any intelligent person associate any of these required attributes with that of an infant of a few weeks old that cannot even speak or think for itself? Let alone understand and repent of its sins – which are non-existent at that early age! The rite of Baptism is for the Forgiveness of sins. An infant of a few weeks old cannot even think sinful thoughts let alone commit sin.
Some preachers maintain, however, that a child is ‘born in sin’ and this is the reason why they baptise a child. This theory leads to the doctrine of concupiscence (original sin) which has been formulated by a Roman Catholic ‘father ‘, Augustine (354-430). He argued that, because of the ‘fall’ of Adam and Eve, ‘original sin’ is passed on by heredity so that, consequently, babies are ‘born in sin’. This would imply that the Messiah, at His birth, inherited sin! – How could He then be the True Saviour “without spot or blemish”?
Those who teach thus, fail to realise that “sin is the transgression of the Law” (1 John 3:4). “all unrighteousness is sin” ( 1 John 5: 17 ) and “the Commandments are righteousness” (Ps. 119:172). “Through the Law comes knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). Consequently such teachers find it convenient to do away with the Law of the Almighty with their teaching that “Grace has replaced the Law”
No, babies HAVE NO SIN! They need NO REPENTANCE and therefore have NO NEED for Baptism!
Another erroneous teaching is, that infant baptism has replaced the Circumcision rite, whereby an infant, on the eighth day after birth, should be circumcised according to the Law of God.
How absolutely untrue this statement is, is proven by the fact that the Holy Scriptures do not contain any such statement whatsoever. It simply is “tradition of man”, and as such, in vain!