By Carol R. Lumpkin
Baptism is not for any and every one. It is for believers only. It is only for those who have matured enough to surrender themselves to Jesus. It is only for those who know their guilt of sin and desire it to be removed. Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). Only believers may be baptized. This rules out babies and the uninformed.
Babies are sinless! Infants and small children do not need baptism for they are not guilty of sin. Sin is the transgression of God’s law (1 Jn. 3:4). Since little children cannot know the law, they cannot sin. Jesus affirmed the innocence of little children, when He said; “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for to such belongeth the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14).
A child is born without sin. He does not bear the guilt of Adam’s sin. A child does not bear the sin of his parents. A child may reap the results of his father’s sin, but he is not accountable, or guilty, for them. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father. . . ” (Ezek. 18:20).
It is a perverted, non-biblical view of man that allows the doctrine of “total depravity.” Man was created without sin. A child is born without sin. Every person born into this world remains good until he or she individually sins. Babies are not little devils in sin. They are innocent, safe and pure before God (Matt. 18:1-3).
Infant baptism is based upon the false doctrine that babies are born sinners and need baptism to remove those sins. The doctrine of children being born in sin was introduced by Augustine in the fifth century. The need for infant baptism grew out of this false concept. Many people who now practice infant baptism no longer believe the “total depravity” doctrine. To reject that doctrine should also lead them to reject infant baptism.
Who can be baptized? This question, parents often ask. How old must my child be before he can be baptized? To answer this, other questions, must be asked. How much about Jesus does your child know? What does he know about sin? Does he know why he must be baptized? For what purpose is baptism? Before a person may be scripturally baptized, he must believe that Jesus not only lived, but that he died, was buried and resurrected from the grave (1 Cor. 15:1-4). These facts must be believed. The person desiring baptism must believe in Jesus (Jn. 8:24); repent of his sins (Lk. 13:3); confess Christ as God’s Son (Acts 8:37), and be baptized (Acts 2:38).
Jesus commanded His apostles to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:16). Those who were taught and became believers could request baptism. When Philip preached Jesus to the eunuch, he believed and requested baptism (Acts 8:3538).
Infants are not born sinners. Infants cannot be taught the word of God. Infants cannot believe the word of God and request baptism. Baptism is for believers only.
Truth Magazine XXII: 37, p. 594
September 21, 1978