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Laila

What is the appropriate age to baptise a child?

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Both me and my husband are raised by Catholic families. However, neither of us were baptised in infancy. I was baptised at 6, as my mother had personal doubts regarding faith. My husband was baptised around 10 years of age, as his mother wished for him to be aware of the act and the religion he was embracing.

 

I've always believed that once I would be a mother, I would baptise my child within the first month of life... However the things have gone differently as our family has found themselves abroad. In order to celebrate this event with our family we have decided to wait with the baptism until our child is a little bit older. I keep wondering though if this is.the right choice.

 

Is there a 'correct' age for the child to be baptised? When were your children baptised?

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It really is best to baptize as soon as possible. When you look at what baptism is you can take the example of when the sacrament it replaced was performed (circumcision), which is with 8 days of birth. Of course there really is no hard at fast rule, but if you do believe in paedo-baptism, then doing it any time when they are an infant is just fine.

 

Personally, we have had our kids baptized within a couple/few months of birth.

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The Bible commands us to believe and be baptized, in that order. No one should be baptized until he has repented of his sins and put his faith in Jesus Christ. Of course, I believe that on this forum I am definitely in the minority in holding this belief.

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The Bible commands us to believe and be baptized, in that order. No one should be baptized until he has repented of his sins and put his faith in Jesus Christ. Of course, I believe that on this forum I am definitely in the minority in holding this belief.

 

Then you forget the account of when those who are converted are not only baptized themselves, but their entire households, including the children.

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Then you forget the account of when those who are converted are not only baptized themselves, but their entire households, including the children.

Who baptized Adam? Abraham? Moses?

 

Was there one Salvation before the Law, another under from Moses to Christ and yet another under the New Covenant?

 

[i am largely playing devil's advocate here, because while I no longer oppose infant baptism, I still see the issue as less clear than either side paints the picture. I would prefer an honest discussion of the hard parts to slinging the old sound bites.]

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Who baptized Adam? Abraham? Moses?

 

Was there one Salvation before the Law, another under from Moses to Christ and yet another under the New Covenant?

 

[i am largely playing devil's advocate here, because while I no longer oppose infant baptism, I still see the issue as less clear than either side paints the picture. I would prefer an honest discussion of the hard parts to slinging the old sound bites.]

There was no baptism back then as the sign of the covenant was circumcision, which was first instituted with Abraham.

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Is there a 'correct' age for the child to be baptised? When were your children baptised?

What is baptism?

 

What does it represent to you?

 

If Baptism is the entrance of the child into the protective Covenant relationship with God ... an announcement that you intend to raise this child Christian (just as circumcision identified a baby as part of the Jewish people) ... then the correct time is as soon as practical (although you might want to wait for your family to be there).

 

If Baptism is an act of obedience showing that you have repented and been regenerated, then the child must make that decision for themselves.

 

​​​​​​If Baptism represents something else to you, then you may have yet another answer.

 

[i do not believe there is a wrong answer, only the answer about how YOU choose to honor God.]

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There was no baptism back then as the sign of the covenant was circumcision, which was first instituted with Abraham.

Why were the Jews Baptized? They were already in a covenant with God.

 

Again, is there a difference between how people are saved in the OT and the NT?

That is what is at stake in these answers.

I am not just splitting hairs.

 

[EDIT: I withdraw the question. Parenting isn't the place for this discussion.]

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To understand baptism you must first backup and understand what happened in the Old Testament. God instituted the covenant of works with Adam, who failed to keep his end of the covenant. Then God re-instituted the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17), but this time He coupled it with a sign, circumcision. Every male who was a descendant of Abraham, and anyone within his household (including servants who may not have been related to him) were to be circumcised, along with male infants when they were 8 days old. Fast forward to the New Testament, Jesus fulfilled that covenant and replaced it with the covenant of Grace, which also came with a sign, baptism, which replaced circumcision. This is why any Jew that became a follower of Christ was baptized, along with their entire household (including the women this time).

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This is why any Jew that became a follower of Christ was baptized, along with their entire household (including the women this time).

In a few of the cases of baptism it is said that the whole household was baptized. In other cases nothing is said about this. I think this shows that only individuals who believed were baptized. Sometimes a whole household be saved and baptized. Sometimes only one person in a household would be saved and he would be the only one baptized.

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In a few of the cases of baptism it is said that the whole household was baptized. In other cases nothing is said about this. I think this shows that only individuals who believed were baptized. Sometimes a whole household be saved and baptized. Sometimes only one person in a household would be saved and he would be the only one baptized.

 

But you have to go back to what baptism replaced. It was circumcision. A convert to Judaism would normally be circumcised, then any male born into that family would be circumcised 8 days after they are born. The rules on baptism are not as stringent, but the philosophy is still the same, except now both boys/men and girls/women are baptized.

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I agree with @Pollard on this issue. If you believe that a Baptism is your way of saying that you agree to raise this child as a Christian, then you should get the Baptism done as soon as possible. Personally, I feel that the only Baptism that "counts" is the one that a person willingly has done once they become a believer. Anything prior to that is more for the parents peace of mind. However, different denominations view Baptism very differently and this can lead to many points of contention. A church we recently attended had a question on their membership form asking if the prospective member had been Baptized by submersion. This church viewed submersion as the only acceptable form of Baptism and would only allow members who had been Baptized in this manner. To me, Baptism is a sign of entering a personal relationship with God and it does not matter if you were submerged or had a couple drops put on your head. The important thing is that you were Baptized and entered that relationship with God. Even though travelling abroad, is it a feasible option (if not having them Baptized is of concern) to get them Baptized, then have a family ceremony when they choose to be Baptized after they become believers? Just a thought, depends on your feelings and the situation obviously. Hope some people here are able to give you peace of mind on the subject.

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The Bible commands us to believe and be baptized, in that order. No one should be baptized until he has repented of his sins and put his faith in Jesus Christ. Of course, I believe that on this forum I am definitely in the minority in holding this belief.

 

I'll join your minority then. I agree with this. I think it should be a person's choice whether or not to be baptized, just as it is their choice to accept Jesus as their Savior. We can guide people, but we can't force them or make the decision for them.

 

I was taught that you choose to be baptized as an outward sign of faith, like an act of pledging your commitment to God.

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I'll join your minority then. I agree with this. I think it should be a person's choice whether or not to be baptized, just as it is their choice to accept Jesus as their Savior. We can guide people, but we can't force them or make the decision for them.

 

I was taught that you choose to be baptized as an outward sign of faith, like an act of pledging your commitment to God.

I'd agree with the minority as well. In the CofE, infants have Christenings (a basic baptism), where the parents vow to bring the child up in the faith and godparents are named to support this. Confirmation, where the child confirms the promises that their parents made for them when they were christened, (or in some churchs, adult baptism) follows later when the child is able to make their own choice and commit themselves to the church of their own will.

 

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Thanks for the explanation. I wasn't aware of exactly how Christenings and confirmations were supposed to work.

 

I was under the impression that some people believe that baptism equals salvation (not necessarily those who follow the above, but some perhaps). I just don't agree with that. I believe that being baptized is more of a statement of faith than an act of faith.

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Thanks for the explanation. I wasn't aware of exactly how Christenings and confirmations were supposed to work.

 

I was under the impression that some people believe that baptism equals salvation (not necessarily those who follow the above, but some perhaps). I just don't agree with that. I believe that being baptized is more of a statement of faith than an act of faith.

 

Catholics believe in Baptismal Regeneration.

 

Given the definition of baptism by the non-Reformed here which believe baptism is only an empty symbol (with the exception of Lutherans) goes without saying. Reformed Protestants do not practice baptismal regeneration, but infants are included in entire households during Covenant Baptism. The baptism is more than an empty symbol. In Covenant baptism water is a sign, mark (invisible), and seal of the NT Covenant. The seal is given by God in His due timing. Salvation is strictly monergism within the Reformed churches.

 

It is appropriate for the head of the household to include children in baptism. The children are received by the church and given baptism as an initiation (incommunicable members), not only are the parent(s) professing faith (communicable members), but they are also vowing to raise the child in the precepts of the Lord (disciple), not only them but the church body itself.

 

None of us disagree as to the requirements of faith as an adult. Where we differ upon is the definition of baptism and what it conveys. Is it merely a symbol? Or is it a sign, seal and mark of the NT Covenant? When Scriptures state "go and baptize you and your household" should you? When Jesus stated go and make disciples baptizing in the name .... should we? Where does the Scripture exclude children? Again, when the Scriptures address adults it says believe and be baptized. When it addresses the head of households, it says baptize your household.

 

God bless,

William

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... believe baptism is only an empty symbol ...

In Covenant baptism water is a sign, mark (invisible), and seal of the NT Covenant ...

Is it merely a symbol?

Or is it a sign, seal and mark of the NT Covenant?

Shame on you. Get that thumb off the scale! :)

Oooh, my Southern Baptist Pastor would take you out in the woodshed if you ever said "merely a symbol".

The Bread and the Wine are symbols ... would you say the wine is merely a symbol for the blood of Christ? (sorry if Presbyterians believe in trans-something ... I drink grape juice to the Glory of God).

 

I am not arguing the merits of the case (again), just pointing out the verbal bias in your post. It does make me want to ask some questions though ....

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The Bread and the Wine are symbols ... would you say the wine is merely a symbol for the blood of Christ?

 

A sign and symbol. The elements of Communion in the eyes of Calvin are as a cheque which effectively offers the sum signified. The bread and wine do not merely symbolize Christ's body and blood, they hold out to us the promise (note) of feeding on them. They do not merely represent, but they also present the body and blood to us.

 

And I have no objections to admitting my bias. My response was to the earlier post in this thread which referred to baptism as only a symbol.

 

I believe that being baptized is more of a statement of faith than an act of faith.

 

Personally, when I read responses such as this one from Chatterbox (not that it is bad or wrong), I am reminded as to why Baptist are mainly Arminian. Even in the sacraments the emphasis is on man and not God. People point to our father's faith in having us baptized as though that is a bad thing:

 

I'd agree with the minority as well. In the CofE, infants have Christenings (a basic baptism), where the parents vow to bring the child up in the faith and godparents are named to support this. Confirmation, where the child confirms the promises that their parents made for them when they were christened, (or in some churchs, adult baptism) follows later when the child is able to make their own choice and commit themselves to the church of their own will.

 

I think those that do not "confirm or profess" as adults are called apostate.

 

God bless,

William

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It was my statement. I just quoted Chatterbox. I do think being baptized is important, not just some superfluous symbol. I just like to draw a clear line between being baptized and being saved. I'm not as educated on these topics as some here, so I just say what I believe. I think it's easy for people to take part in certain rituals and believe that those things will get them into Heaven. My belief is that the only way to get there is by being born again.

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It was my statement. I just quoted Chatterbox. I do think being baptized is important, not just some superfluous symbol. I just like to draw a clear line between being baptized and being saved. I'm not as educated on these topics as some here, so I just say what I believe. I think it's easy for people to take part in certain rituals and believe that those things will get them into Heaven. My belief is that the only way to get there is by being born again.

 

That's funny, the Apostle Paul believed the same thing ... and he was VERY educated. :)

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It was my statement. I just quoted Chatterbox. I do think being baptized is important, not just some superfluous symbol. I just like to draw a clear line between being baptized and being saved. I'm not as educated on these topics as some here, so I just say what I believe. I think it's easy for people to take part in certain rituals and believe that those things will get them into Heaven. My belief is that the only way to get there is by being born again.

 

Again, it's a difference between viewing baptism as a symbol or a sign, seal, and mark of the NT Covenant. The Covenants sign points to the thing signified, the seal points back to the the sign, and the mark distinguishes or separates the children for holy use. A mark which God identifies and such shares Covenant blessings, for example, children receive the blessings of being brought up in the precepts of God's word, and fellowship, as well as all unforeseeable blessings just as children in the OT received, even children bare witness and by example are a testimony to other children, for the "ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world".

 

A profession of faith does not guarantee regeneration. The Covenant's Grace is not merited by man or so annexed to a profession that it cause regeneration. In every way the NT Covenant is better, and does not now drop or exclude children from the Covenant whose promises were made prior in the OT to children as well as faithful adults. And now girls too may enjoy the sign, seal, and mark of the NT Covenant. To make an argument such as their being no "explicit" mention of children being baptized is an argument of silence, put forth from discontinuity of Covenants (dispensationalism) rather than continuity (Reformed/Covenant). The same argument from silence should warrant the guarding or fencing of the Communion table from women, for no women are explicitly stated in Scripture of having partook of the Sacrament.

 

Westminster Confession of Faith:

  • I. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church; but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.
  • IV. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized.
  • V. Although it is a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it: or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.
  • VI. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in His appointed time.

Here's a great response from a Covenant perspective. I think Reformed parents demonstrate faith in God, and "assume" that the children are in a NT Covenant where the promises are made towards the children. It is also my opinion that withholding baptism from a child is a testimony of doubt or lack of faith on behalf of the parents. The NT Covenant was promised not only to adults that believe and are baptized but to their children and those far off. Rejecting the Covenant perspective is emphasizing the "free will" which is so dominant within the Baptist denomination. Placing such emphasis on individualism and the resulting determinism based on individual will, in my view does away from membership of the Visible church, family unit, and solidarity of Covenant members.

 

Hebrew children in the Old Testament were born into God's covenant, both male and female. Circumcision was the sign of this covenant for boys, but the sign was not what saved them. Faith saved them. Rejecting the sign, circumcision, for boys, either by the parents or later as an adult himself, was a sign of a lack of true faith, and therefore the child was "cut off" from God's promises as clearly stated in Genesis chapter 17:

 

"Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

 

What was the purpose of this covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? God tells us in the beginning of this chapter of Genesis:

 

"And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you."

 

This covenant wasn't just to establish a Jewish national identity or a promise of the inheritance of the land of Caanan, as some evangelicals want you to believe. In this covenant, God promises to be their God. Does God say here that he will be their God only if they make a "decision for God" when they are old enough to have the intelligence and maturity to decide for themselves? No! They are born into the covenant!

 

If Jewish children grew up trusting in God and lived by faith, they then received eternal life when they died. If when they grew up, they rejected God, turned their back on God, and lived a life of willful sin, when they died, they suffered eternal damnation. Salvation was theirs to LOSE. There is no record anywhere in the Bible that Jewish children were required to make a one time "decision for God" upon reaching an "Age of Accountability" in order to be saved.

 

Therefore Jewish infants who died, even before circumcision, were saved.

 

The same is true today. Christian children are born into the covenant. They are saved by faith. It is not the act of baptism that saves, it is faith. The refusal to be baptized is a sign of a lack of true faith and may result in the child being "cut off" from God's promise of eternal life, to suffer eternal damnation, as happened with the unfaithful Hebrew in the OT.

 

Christ said, "He that believes and is baptized will be saved, but he that does not believe will be damned."

 

It is not the lack of baptism that damns, it is the lack of faith that damns.

 

From a Covenant perspective, children are to be baptized at any age. And in faith there's no reason to doubt God and the blessings of the Covenant for children. If you as a parent want to see whether the child falls away and becomes apostate, then you're bringing up your child doubting them under the assumption that one day the Covenant blessings "might" be yours, and one day you may be saved based on your testimony of faith. Everything is pushed forward in the future, rather than emphasizing the Ordo Salutis that began before the foundation of the earth, and especially a Covenant that long ago was established before our natural births. Clearly such view reassures a child "NOW" of salvation and Covenant membership. The rejection of Covenant baptism and the line of thinking that is attached to it has lately been the target of attack by Reformed/Covenant churches. Many churches today place a one time emphasis on man's testimony as though a one time profession may save them. Of course this line of reasoning is decimated every time an adult turns apostate after making a profession of faith. Not even being an adult, professing faith, and being baptized guarantees regeneration.

 

Many Covenant children grow up and as adults show no signs of falling away. Sure some may stumble, but what is the message to a Covenant child later in life after such stumble? That's something we can dive into the Covenant Theology section, but again contrary view places the emphasis on what an individual has done and merited salvation rather than what God has done by beginning a good work and finishing it.

 

God bless,

William

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I don't really think we're at odds as much as you might think. The statement quoted below, is basically the point I was trying to make.

 

V. Although it is a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it: or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.

 

Baptism is very important, but not so important that you cannot be saved without it or that you are guaranteed salvation with it. That's what I was getting at.

 

This has been an interesting discussion, and I am learning a lot, so thanks for all the information.

 

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I think those that do not "confirm or profess" as adults are called apostate.

 

God bless,

William

Actually they make up about 90% of the church-going congregation. If you threw everyone who was christened but not confirmed out of the church, you'd have a very small congregation indeed. Confirmation requires classes and a dedication of time that some do not feel able to undertake, and others don't feel ready to take that step. Apostacy requires renouncing the faith entirely. It also depends on whether you consider Christening a baptism or not, in which case they all count as baptised.

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The Bible commands us to believe and be baptized, in that order. No one should be baptized until he has repented of his sins and put his faith in Jesus Christ. Of course, I believe that on this forum I am definitely in the minority in holding this belief.

 

 

You and I probably are in the minority and I would be in full agreement with you if you'd not pluralized the word sin. The Way of faith

he has perfected is the faith to repent of a sin, singular, not sins. The gate is narrow.

Edited by Theodore A. Jones
further explination

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