Why I chose NOT TO baptize my children.
I grew up as a Protestant, a Methodist to be precise. As a Methodist, and like Catholics and most mainline protestants, I was baptised as an infant. When I was 12, I stopped attending any kind of church (see my story). At the age of 20, I joined a local Baptist church, and as a Baptist, I fully endorse baptism. After all, a Baptist would baptise, right?
As a Bible believing Christian, Baptism, I believe, should be practiced as the Apostles had established in their foundational writings. Since they started Christianity, I want to align my beliefs with what they taught. So why would I make such a drastic decision? Why make a decision that goes so contrary to the common practices of today?
First, let's put aside denominational differences and look directly at what the Bible says on the subject. We all have our opinions, and church traditions, but what does the Bible say, if anything at all.
Galatians 1:8 "But though we (the Apostles), or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
First, lets define the word "Baptise".
Baptism is commonly defined as "sprinkling" in most dictionaries, but it is important to understand that the word “Baptise" itself is a transliteration (Def. A writing or printing of a word using the closest corresponding letters of a different alphabet or language) from the Greek language, that literally means “to submerge” or “Immersion”. http://biblehub.com/greek/907.htm In other words, transliteration means that when the Bible was translated to English, there was no English word available, so they simply applied the literal greek word that means "to immerse". Since most churches only sprinkle with water, the greek definition for the word “baptise" contradicts the practice of the majority of churches, because sprinkling is not "submersion", or "immersion".
Second, although for centuries, churches have baptised infants, there is no evidence of the practice in the writings of the apostles. (Baptism verses below. Look them up.)
Verses about Baptism during Jesus’ Ministry:
Matthew 3:6; Matthew 3:11; Matthew 3:13; Matthew 3:14; Matthew 3:16; Matthew 20:22; Matthew 20:23; Mark 1:4; Mark 1:5; Mark 1:8; Mark 1:9; Mark 10:38; Mark 10:39; Mark 16:16; Luke 3:7; Luke 3:12; Luke 3:16; Luke 3:21;Luke 7:29; Luke 7:30; Luke 12:50; John 1:26; John 1:33; John 3:22; John 3:23; John 4:1; John 4:2; John 10:40
Verses about Baptism during the early Church (aka What the Apostles said.)
Acts 1:5; Acts 2:38; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:13; Acts 8:16; Acts 8:36; Acts 8:38; Acts 9:18; Acts 10:47; Acts 10:48; Acts 11:16; Acts 16:15; Acts 16:33; Acts 18:8; Acts 19:3; Acts 19:4; Acts 19:5; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3; I Corinthians 1:13; I Corinthians 1:14; I Corinthians 1:15; I Corinthians 1:16; I Corinthians 1:17; I Corinthians 10:2; I Corinthians 12:13; I Corinthians 15:29; Galatians 3:27
One of the most clearly defining verses for the practice of baptism is found in Acts 8:36-39:
Acts 8:36 "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?"
Acts 8:37 "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
According to the Bible (Acts 8:36), Philip is asked by the Ethiopian eunuch, "…what doth hinder me to be baptized?" If baptism made someone a Christian, or was the way to heaven, nothing should hinder this Ethiopian from being baptised. After all, wouldn’t Philip want him to be a Christian, or to go to heaven? Is this what we see? Phillip answers his question, telling the man what would hinder him to be baptised. (Acts 8:37) Philip would not baptise this Ethiopian man unless he believed in Jesus Christ "…with all thine heart,…". In other words, believing must be a prerequisite to baptism, because Philip would not baptise him unless he believed on Jesus.
With an honest examination of Acts 8:36-39, it should be obvious that baptism is not the way to heaven. Otherwise, Philip would have had no problem baptising the Ethiopian. After all, the Ethiopian was willing to be baptised without knowing he needed to believe. This matches the teaching of the rest of the Bible, that baptism is not the gateway to heaven, it does not take our sins away. The forgiveness of sins happens when we repent of our works religion and believe solely on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:7 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"
Revelation 1:5 "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"
The Bible says that forgiveness of sins comes through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, not through works, such as baptism.
Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"
Ephesians 2:9 "Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Since believing is a prerequisite to baptism, the question remains, can an infant personally believe on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ? If not, than why would we baptise them?
Notice how the baptism itself commenced;
Acts 8:38 "And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him."
Acts 8:39 "And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."
This baptism that is depicted in Acts 8:36-39 goes hand in hand with the Greek transliterated definition of "immersion”.
Another thing to consider, if Baptism was essential to getting to heaven, than it would have been the emphasis of the Apostle Paul's ministry, who started the majority of the churches in Europe and Turkey, but read what he wrote…
I Corinthians 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."
The apostle places the emphasis on the gospel (death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ), saying that his purpose was to preach about he gospel, "…not to baptise,…".
What about the fact that most Christian churches teach this practice?
No one could argue with that fact, but does that mean it is what the Apostles taught. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians concerning teachings that did not align with the apostles teachings…
Galatians 1:8 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
Galatians 1:9 "As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
The teaching of infant baptism is nowhere in the Bible, yet it is taught in most churches. Why? Well, not to go into as much detail, it is a tradition that has developed over the centuries, but as you can see it has no real scriptural basis. The only relation to the Bible is the inclusion of water, and the name of Jesus used in the ceremony. Jesus critiqued the Pharisees for placing their traditions over the scriptures when he said…
Mark 7:9 "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."
Shouldn’t we be careful not to do the same? Not to fall into the same trap the Jews fell into, by placing tradition over the scriptures?
In conclusion and including the reasons stated above, the reason I have chosen not to baptise my children (yet), is because
1. I want to personally follow the scriptures, the Apostles writings, as they were written.
2. I want my children to sense the need to personally put their faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. I don’t want them to think that they are somehow better off, because they were involuntarily involved in a religious ceremony as a child. If they were involved in a ceremony as children, like most adults, they will likely live with the feeling that there is no need to have a personal faith in Christ. I want my children to sense the need to put their faith and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ alone.
If they do not feel the need for personal faith in Christ, Jesus warned…
John 3:18 "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
I want my children to have a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Then, as an expression of that faith in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, I want them to voluntarily be "immersed" as the Apostles taught throughout the scriptures.
Someone might denounce this as being "Baptist” doctrine. This maybe so, but it is first and foremost scriptural doctrine, meaning it is what the Apostles taught and practiced.
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