By Ron Halbrook
Many years after “all truth” or “the faith” had been revealed, the pure stream of New Testament Christianity was corrupted by Greek philosophy (Jn. 16:13; Jude 3; 2 Tim. 4:1). Philosophers taught that the body or flesh itself was inherently evil. As this poison was mixed with Bible truth, the theory was presented that after Adam’s sin all flesh inherited sin. This became the doctrine of hereditary depravity—-little babies were said to be born in sin, children of the devil!
As men drifted away from “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints,” they devised human theories about baptism. Men began to teach that in some mysterious way the grace of God was “infused” into the soul o# man by the “sacrament” of baptism. This almost magical concept of water baptism can be seen in the idea of “holy water.” Men also put their own reason in. place of divine revelation in order to teach God will accept sprinkling in place of true baptism.
Thus, a combination of human philosophy and manmade doctrine created the tradition of sprinkling little babies to save them from sin. In the last 100 years, religious modernism and liberalism has tried to cast doubt on everything older than the morning’s newspaper. Thus both divine revelation and later human traditions have been called in question. Liberal denominationalism calls Adam’s sin a “fable,” excuses all human guilt as “societies’ fault,” tries to build a “great society” instead of saving souls from sin, and therefore rejects the doctrine of inherited depravity. The liberals who retain infant sprinkling, practice it only as a “dedication service,” not to deliver the baby from sin.
For the truth’s sake which is in Christ, we must reject liberalism and human doctrine and philosophical theories! The Bible teaches that Adam and Eve, at an age when they could understand God’s will, chose to sin; they were held responsible, counted guilty, and driven from God’s presence (Gen.. 2-3). But the Bible also speaks of children’s being at an age when they have no knowledge between good and evil”—-“before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good” (Deut. 1:39; Isa. 7:16). Jesus did not regard “little children” as children o# the devil, but pointed to their purity in the character of humility (Matt. 18:3-4). If the flesh inherits sin, a baby is guilty of “evil” from the moment of conception. But, Paul, guided by God’s Spirit, said, “The children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil . . .” (Rom. 9:11).
Sin is not something inherited, but something practiced: “the transgression of the law” (1 Jn. 3:4). When practiced, sin separates “between you and your God,” but it cannot be inherited (Isa. 59:2; Ezek. 18). Not by magic in, water, but by obedient faith, sinners must come to Christ’s blood for cleansing. “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins . : .” (Acts 2:38).
Truth Magazine, XX:13, p. 2
March 25, 1976