It could be recalled that in the last series, we mentioned that the Anabaptist rejected infant baptism for having no biblical support and vehemently opposed the practice as being null and void. With firm conviction on the doctrines of the Church, whose faith I profess, I stand tall to express the clarification that infant baptism is not a false practice. Even though there are no biblical ground that explicitly approves to baptize infants, there are instances in the scripture that indirectly or implicitly allow infants to be baptized. Besides, that Christ did not explicitly state in the scripture that infants should be baptized is not sufficient enough to conclude that He condemned it. Hence, we look into certain concrete instances whereby infant baptism is implied in the scripture.
First and foremost, St. Paul likened baptism to circumcision in Col. 2:11-12. Paul in this passage calls baptism the circumcision of Christ. Meanwhile, it could be vividly recalled that in Gen. 17:10-14, God commanded that 8 days after the birth of a child, he or she should be circumcised as a covenant relationship with the God of Israel. It was also observed that adults who were newly converted into Judaism are made to believe in the God of Israel before they are circumcised, whereas those born into Judaism are circumcised after eight days. In the same manner, adults converted into Christianity are required to profess their faith in the God of our Lord Jesus Christ before they are baptized, while infants are baptized in the strength of the faith of their parent or guardian but not as a substitute to the faith of the infants.
Morestill, the various instances in which baptism was carried out in the households implicitly testify to infant baptism. These biblical instances could be gathered from I Cor. 1:16, when Paul was making reference to how he baptized Stephanus and his household. Moreso, in Acts 16:15, when Lydia got converted, she was baptized together with her household, in Acts. 16:33, the Philippian jailer was marveled at the wonder of Paul and Silas and immediately, he requested for baptism, he was baptized together with his household.
It is worthy to note here that the concept “household” denotes parents and children, and there was neither mention of the age limit of the children who were baptized nor the exclusion of infants among those who received baptism. Indications therefore emerge that everyone in the household was baptized possibly including the infants.
Far more importantly, it is very erroneous to conclude that infant baptism is a false practice just because there was no biblical ground that explicitly endorses it. This is predicated on the fact that it was never in anywhere in the Scripture condemned which is even more forceful and convincing. Meanwhile, the universal command of Christ in the New Testament implicitly laid claim to infant baptism. For instance, while discussing with Nicodemus in Jn. 3:5 on the criteria to enter the kingdom of God, He (Christ) said: “Unless one is baptized with water and the Holy Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of God.” He did not mention “with the exclusion of infants, unless one is baptized with water and…” rather, he included everyone.
Again, in the divine mandate of Mtt. 28:19-20, He said to the apostles “Go to the world and proclaim the Good News to all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The word nation in this context includes all humanity in which infants are not excluded, unless it is argued that infants are not human beings. Against this backdrop, I wish to humbly express the confidence that the above biblical instances and many more, opens to the possibility of infant baptism as practiced in the Church.
Well, it was natural to observe frequent attention to adult baptism as the apostles were at that early stage preaching and baptizing new converts who profess their faith in Jesus Christ. And as these new converts had children, the word for infant baptism was gradually emerging. Above all, there was explicit approval of infant baptism among the Church Fathers of the second century in the likes of St. Iraeneus, the Apostolic tradition of Hypolitus to the Romans, Origen, St. Cyprian’s letter to Fidus and even St. Augustine. It was only Tertullian that discouraged infant baptism, which was a warp interpretation of the divine invitation of Christ towards children. Besides, such discouragement testifies to the reality of infant baptism at that early period of the Church. MAY GOD STRENGHTEÑ OÙŔ FAITH IN THÌS FIRST SACRAMENT!!!