The question, Should infants be baptised?, is the baptism question that has given rise to the greatest controversy amongst those who receive the Bible as God’s Word. Paedobaptists (literally, child-baptists) like ourselves assert that certain infants may and should be baptised. In the succinct words of the Shorter Catechism,
The infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptised.
The Westminster Confession gives an equally definite answer:
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 baptised.
This is vehemently denied by those who call themselves “baptists”. They say that only believers are to be baptised on profession of their saving faith, and since infants cannot express their belief in Christ even if they possessed it, therefore they should not be baptised. Quoting Peter’s words in Acts 2:38, the Scriptural rule, they say, is “Repent, and be baptized,” which they interpret to mean, “Repent and [then] be baptised.” Since infants cannot repent – or at least, cannot show the signs of repentance – therefore they cannot be baptised, so they argue. The fallacy of this simple and apparently Scriptural argument may be exposed by setting out the paedobaptists’ full and truly Scriptural position.
Scripture itself lays down four principles of unity in order to answer the question whether infants should be baptised, and so must we. These four unities are the four layers which form the foundation of Scripture’s answer. Paedobaptists begin here, and so build their house of baptism upon Scripture’s rock, but the baptists are faulty here, rending asunder what God has joined together, and so build their house upon sand. The four unities are:
- Testamental unity – there is one Bible.
- Ecclesiastical unity – there is one Church.
- Covenantal unity – there is one Covenant of Grace.
- Sacramental unity – there is an identity of spiritual meaning between Circumcision and Baptism.
1. Testamental unity
The first principle is testamental unity – there is only one Bible. Although there are differences of emphasis and administration between the Old and New Testaments, nevertheless there exists an essential unity to the whole of Scripture: it is one Bible, the one Word of God, inspired by the same Holy Spirit. The two Testaments are not two revelations contradicting each other, but one revelation in two parts that complement each other. This is testamental unity. True theology draws on the teaching of the whole of Scripture, not just the teaching of the New Testament alone. Each doctrine of God’s Word – including baptism – is built up progressively, layer upon layer, throughout its pages. There is no reason why baptism should be treated differently to any other department of theology – we will arrive at the truth only by taking into account the whole of the truth. Although baptism is a New Testament sacrament, still the Old Testament must be consulted for a full understanding of it. The united testimony of the two Testaments must be heard.
Thus we must look at the place of baptism in the whole of Scripture. The importance of this cannot be overemphasised. If there is a fundamental difference between baptists and paedobaptists, we would suggest that it is right here. For as soon as the whole Word of God, Old Testament as well as New, is allowed to speak, the argument for infant baptism becomes manifestly clear. So this is our challenge to the baptists: are you truly allowing the whole of Scripture to speak on this question? Should children be baptised? Baptists, do you really look for an answer from the whole of Scripture, or do you not look only to the New Testament?
What then can the Old Testament tell us about infant baptism? In the Old Testament we find that children, even tiny infants, were given a place. Not only were they given a place in the nation of Israel as citizens, but also a place in the church as visible members. For example, in the days of Ezra, “Before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children” (Ezra 10:1) – children were a part of the visible congregation. Children were given place in the covenant, for Abraham was told: “This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee” (Gen. 17:10). They were given a place in the introductory sacrament, for Abraham was likewise told: “He that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you” (Gen. 17:12). Children were given so great a place in the Old Testament that the male children were circumcised!
Because of the unity between the Testaments, when we begin reading the New Testament we must look on children as already riding high on the crest of the wave of their Old Testament position. Their position in the Old Testament matters; it counts for something. Were they members of the church before? Then we expect them to be members still, unless the New Testament expressly casts them out. Were they in the covenant before? Then they are still in the covenant, unless the New Testament clearly shows that they have been excluded. Did they receive the sacrament of circumcision before? Then surely they should receive the sacrament of baptism now, unless the New Testament plainly disqualifies them. That is, provided that there is no command anywhere in the New Testament to forbid it – and there is no such command – infants should be baptised just as they were circumcised. You see, once the Old Testament is given its rightful place, then children will be given their rightful place too – and that will include a place in baptism.
Usually this is not the way that the baptist approaches the subject. He would say that the mere absence of any command not to baptise is no proof to baptise. Why would he they say this? Because he has not sufficiently laid the principle of testamental unity for a foundation. With the baptist there is a tendency to undervalue the Old Testament and to overstate the difference between the two Testaments, which leads him to think that the Old Testament can teach very little about children and baptism. In effect, to answer the question whether infants should be baptised, the baptist begins the New Testament dispensation with an entirely blank sheet of paper, as if the Old Testament did not exist. Ask him if infants are to be baptised, and he begins at the first verse of Matthew and reads through to the last verse of Revelation. He finds no express command to baptise infants, and so he says infants are not to be baptised. The fact that infants were circumcised has very little influence with him on the question whether they should be baptised.
Now ask the paedobaptist whether infants are to be baptised. His sheet of paper already has information on it before he reads even one verse of the New Testament – even the crucial fact that in the Old Testament infants were given a place: in the church; in the covenant; and in the sacrament of circumcision. He knows that the New Testament is the same Bible, so he expects that children will have a similar place. Of course he is willing to be shown otherwise, but only if God reveals a change. So he reads his New Testament very differently. He is not looking for a new command to baptise infants, for why does he need one? He knows already that probably infants will be included in the introductory sacrament of the covenant, for they were included in it during the Old Testament. So what does he look for? He simply checks that there is no express change of this arrangement. And of course, he finds none, for there is no such command not to baptise infants anywhere in the New Testament. Therefore, the paedobaptist concludes that baptism is for infants just as surely as circumcision was.
Thus once the principle of testamental unity is understood, the burden of proof rests on the baptists and on them alone. They must show that there is a change. They must produce texts from the New Testament to show that change. This is a high demand to make of them. The only type of text that will suffice is one that says to the effect of, “Infants of believers no longer have any right to the token of the covenant of grace. Although they were circumcised in the Old Testament, they are not to be baptised in the New.” Of course, they are never able to produce such texts, for they do not exist. If all their proof texts are examined one by one, not one will be found to evidence such a change. Indeed, not one will be found that even deals with this particular subject. Why? For the simple reason that God has not changed the arrangement. Infants of believers have as much right to be baptised in the New Testament as they had to be circumcised in the Old.
For an indication that usually baptists undervalue the Old Testament, at least subconsciously, and thus overstate the difference between the two Testaments, we need do no more than ask one simple question. What do most baptists sing as God’s praise in public worship? The inspired Psalms, which God has appointed? No. Instead they will sing the uninspired words of mere men, hymns which they themselves have imposed into God’s worship without any warrant from Him whatsoever. And why do they do this? Fundamentally it must be for this reason – they undervalue the Old Testament. The Psalter is Old Testament and therefore it is to be rejected in favour of man-made hymns that in their view are more suitable for Christian worship. This is what takes place every time hymns are sung instead of Psalms. Men are undervaluing the Old Testament part of the Word of God. This is done almost universally among baptists.
It is no mere coincidence then that in general the paedobaptist Presbyterians have a heritage of singing Psalms rather than hymns. It is because they value the Old Testament so highly that no uninspired writings could ever compete. These different ideas as to the importance of the Old Testament are where the differences between baptists and paedobaptists begin. Here is the real reason why baptists do not baptise infants: just as they usually refuse to sing from the Old Testament in worship, so they refuse to let the Old Testament speak concerning baptism. And here is the real reason why paedobaptists insist on baptising infants: just as those who are adhering to the old Presbyterian paths insist that God’s praise must be from His appointed manual even though it is found in the Old Testament, so they insist that God’s voice in the Old Testament must be heard even when it comes to the New Testament sacrament of baptism.
To apply this testamental unity further, the New Testament speaks of whole families or households being baptised (the families of Stephanas in 1 Cor. 1:16, Lydia in Acts 16:15, and the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:33). It is not for us to decide what the word “household” means according to our own ideas, but we must discover what Scripture – the whole of Scripture – means by it. The word “household” naturally meant all the persons living in the house, but it had a special reference inclusive of children, as the Old Testament use of the word proves. In Genesis 45:18 Pharaoh commanded Joseph’s brethren to take their father and their “households.” The meaning of “households” is clarified in the next verse, “for your little ones, and for your wives.” Therefore the word “household” is expected to include children. When we read of households being baptised in the book of Acts, we are expected to include children within that term. This supports the paedobaptist argument only when the principle of testamental unity is laid.
2. Ecclesiastical unity
The second principle is ecclesiastical unity – there is only one church. “Ecclesiastical” refers to the church: the church of Christ in both Testaments is one church in two forms and not two different churches. In Romans 11, there is only one olive tree to represent the whole church, whereof the Jews under the Old Testament were “natural branches” and the Gentiles under the New are “graffed in” to the very same tree. The Gentiles are “cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature,” not to form a new tree or a new church, but to be joined to the very same church that had existed throughout the Old Testament. This is ecclesiastical unity.
Ecclesiastical unity tells us to look at the place of baptism in relation to the church. Doing this, we find that it is the sacramental instrument of admission to and mark of membership of the visible church in the New Testament. What was the mark of admission to the church during the Old Testament? Circumcision, which was administered to infants as well as to adults, because infants as well as adults were members of the visible church. Are we expressly told that New Testament infants are to be excluded from the church? Far from it. Seeing then that infants were formerly admitted to membership of the church by circumcision, therefore (in the absence of any command to the contrary) they are to be admitted to membership of the same church in its New Testament dispensation by baptism. God’s admission of infants to membership of His church then through circumcision, is full justification for their admission to His church now through baptism, the New Testament mark of visible church membership.
See how the Saviour asserted the continued position of children within His church. “And they brought unto Him also infants, that He would touch them: but when His disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:15,16). The doctrine of infant baptism cannot be proved from these words of course, but nevertheless there is much to confirm it. Under the Old Testament, infants were admitted to the visible kingdom of God, the church. Under the New Testament, baptists deny infants their place in that visible kingdom, but paedobaptists continue to include them. In the light of the Saviour’s dealings with infants, who is right? Do baptists not seem very much like the disciples, seeking to exclude infants? On the other hand, do paedobaptists not seem to have the mind of Christ in their desire to include them? Since infants were admitted to the sacrament during the Old Testament dispensation, can we really think that they would be shut out of it in the New? Surely the New Testament is at least as gracious to infants as the Old. Surely then, if they enjoyed the benefit of circumcision in the Old, they are to enjoy the benefit of baptism in the New. The Saviour’s gracious words lead us to reason in this direction.
The New Testament describes the children of believers as holy: ‘For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy’ (1 Cor. 7:14). This text is not saying that the children of believers are automatically holy in the sense of being savingly sanctified by the Holy Spirit. It is saying however that such children are holy in the sense of being separated from others, and separated to be the Lord’s. They are part of Christ’s visible and holy church, that body on earth that is separated from all others. This text then gives infants a special place, even a place in the visible church. Indeed, it gives them the very same place that they had in the Old Testament! Because of this place they received circumcision then, and because of this place they should receive baptism now. To deny them baptism, is to deny their continued position in the Church as revealed in the New Testament.
3. Covenantal unity
The third principle is covenantal unity – for salvation, there is only one covenant. God has always dealt with His people savingly by way of covenant, the covenant of grace. This covenant of grace is one covenant in both Testaments; although differently administered in the two dispensations it is the same covenant. To prove that:
- First, the Mediator is the same, namely Christ who is the only possible Mediator between God and men, whatever dispensation.
- Secondly, the instrument of participation is the same, namely faith. How was Abraham saved in the Old Testament administration? The same way that Paul was saved in the New – by faith. So Genesis 15:6 records: “And he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness.”
- Thirdly, the blessing is the same, namely full salvation from sin. This blessing was summarised in the Lord’s special promise to Abraham “for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee” (Gen. 17:7). It is this very same blessing which New Testament believers enjoy, which is why it is said that “the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles” (Gal. 3:14).
Now if the covenant’s Mediator and instrument of participation and blessing are all the same, how can the covenant itself be anything but the same? This is covenantal unity.
We fully accept the statement of the Westminster Confession that, “The covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel.” Yes indeed, in the Old Testament dispensation, “It was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances,” whereas in the New Testament it is administered by “the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.” And yes, the New administration is superior to the Old for its greater “fulness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations.” And yes, the Old administration contained some aspects that related to the nation of Israel, but such aspects played only a subordinate and temporary role: the substance of the covenant was the same then as it is now. It was the same covenant of grace. Although the methods of administration are different, the covenant itself is the same single fundamental covenant of God’s grace to sinners through Jesus Christ. “There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.”
Covenantal unity tells us to look at the place of baptism in the context of the covenant of grace in both of its administrations. If it has always been the same covenant, then surely its Old administration is relevant as well as its New. Therefore the paedobaptist sees that in the Old administration, children received circumcision, called the “token of the covenant” (Gen. 17:11). “This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised . . . And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you” (Gen. 17:10,12). The children were in the covenant – therefore they received its token. Because it is one covenant, the paedobaptist therefore expects that children will continue to receive its token in the New administration – unless shown otherwise. But whereas he finds that the token itself has changed, to baptism, and that this token has been expanded to include females as well as males, for in Acts 8:12 he reads that “they were baptized, both men and women,” he finds nothing at all to suggest that children have lost their place in the covenant, nor that they should cease to receive the token of it. Therefore he quite rightly concludes that they should be baptised.
The baptist on the other hand so emphasises the differences in administration as to disallow the relevance of infant circumcision to the question of infant baptism. If he looks at the covenant made with Abraham when circumcision was first instituted, he sees that there was a national element to that covenant. We do not disagree – but then he so over-emphasises that national element as to link infant circumcision to it alone, as if children were circumcised only because they were citizens of the nation of Israel. And then, because the New Testament administration of the covenant does not have that national aspect, he concludes that baptism should not be given to infants. But in the covenant institution of circumcision, it is very evident that the national aspect was something temporary, something passing, something dispensational and not essential. In essence the covenant was multinational! For one thing, the promises to Abraham included this: “My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations” (v. 4). For another thing, express provision was made for the circumcision of proselytes from other nations, even the one ‘bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed’ (v. 12).
However, rather than looking at God’s dealings with Abraham at the time that circumcision was instituted, the baptist usually prefers to look at the covenant as it was administered with the nation of Israel from Mount Sinai onwards, and here he likes to focus upon the legal aspects of that arrangement. To this end he will refer to Jeremiah 31:31ff, where God promises to “make a new covenant” (v. 31) with His people, “not according to the covenant” (v. 32) that He made with Israel when He brought them out of Egypt, “. . . which covenant they brake’ (v. 32). The new covenant would be entirely spiritual, for God would put His law “in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be [His] people” (v. 33). And then “they shall all know” the Lord, “from the least of them unto the greatest of them” (v. 34). The baptist says that this new covenant is the covenant of grace – in that he is quite right. But he is quite wrong when he interprets the passage to mean that baptism cannot be applied to infants. This he does by insisting that in the New only those who know the Lord are in the covenant, “from the least of them unto the greatest of them” (v. 34), and therefore that only those who can give evidence that they savingly know the Lord can be baptised – which of course excludes infant children.
But we must realise that the comparison in this passage is not between the Old and the New administrations of the covenant of grace, but between the covenant of grace itself and the national covenant made with Israel at Sinai. The Sinai covenant stood by itself: it was neither the covenant of grace nor the covenant of works, although it included elements of both. It is that covenant which Israel broke again and again – and the Jeremiah passage is saying that the Sinai covenant would be done away, and the new covenant, that is, the covenant of grace proper, would not be like it. What does this tell us about infant baptism? Absolutely nothing! If the passage was comparing the two dispensations of the covenant of grace proper, we would have to agree with the baptists – but it is not. It is comparing the covenant of grace on the one hand, and on the other hand the Sinai covenant – or “the law” as Paul calls it in Galatians 3:17. But it was not this Sinai covenant which conferred the right of circumcision on infants – it was the covenant with Abraham 430 years before that did that. Infant circumcision did not begin at Sinai – it began with Abraham. That Abrahamic covenant, being the covenant of grace proper, a faith covenant of the heart not a legal covenant written on tables of stone, is not done away with in Jeremiah; on the contrary it continues still. And therefore, neither are infant rights to the introductory sacrament done away. Infant privileges to the introductory sacrament of the covenant remain intact. Jeremiah 31 does not detract from these privileges in any way.
Now, if we ask why infants were to receive the token of the covenant in the Old Testament, we find it was because the promises of the covenant were for them as well as for adults. The covenant contained many promises, as God so clearly revealed to Abraham. Plainly those promises were for Abraham. But they were not for Abraham alone. They were also for his seed. “And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (Gen. 17:7). Now since the promises of the covenant were for the seed, therefore the token of the covenant (circumcision) was also for the seed. It was a sign and seal and pledge of the promises of the covenant. If the promises were for infants, then so should the token of those promises be for them, even when they were only eight days old.
Now, the promises of the covenant that were sealed by circumcision are the same promises that are sealed by baptism, as we shall demonstrate under our fourth heading. Therefore the token of the covenant is just as much for infants now as it was then. Infants were to be circumcised because the promises were for them – not only for Abraham but also for his seed. And infants are to be baptised because the promises are still for them – not only for New Testament believers but also for their children.
There is express Scripture to this effect in Acts 2:39, “For this promise is unto you, and to your children.” Peter was preaching to the Jews gathered at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. In verse 38 he told them to repent and be baptised, for the remission of sins. In other words he was publishing the covenant of grace. The covenant’s blessing was there: the remission of sins or salvation. Its instrument was there by implication: for repentance always accompanies faith. And also, its new token was there: baptism. Now when the Jews heard about this new token of baptism to replace the old token of circumcision, various questions would arise in their minds. One would be, What about our children? Are they still to be included in the token? It was in answer to this question that Peter said “The promise is unto you, and to your children,” confirming that children were still within the promise and therefore still eligible for the token. Baptism was for them and for their children because the promise was for them and for their children. Children of covenant parents are still covenant children! Therefore they should be baptised on account of the covenant, just as they were circumcised on account of the covenant.
4. Sacramental unity
The fourth principle is sacramental unity – there is only one initiatory sacrament. There is an express identity between the sacraments of the covenant of grace in its two dispensations. That is, between the passover and the Lord’s Supper, and more especially for our purposes, between circumcision and baptism. This is sacramental unity. The sacrament of baptism is a New Testament sign and seal of the covenant of grace. It is the covenant’s initiatory or introductory sacrament, as distinguished from the confirmatory sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
During the Old Testament dispensation, circumcision was the introductory sign of the covenant of grace. Circumcision is no longer to be applied of course, but the covenant itself continues in the New Testament, and so does the need for an introductory sacrament. The new sacrament of baptism was instituted in the place of circumcision, to perform the introductory role. Now since the introductory sacrament in the Old Testament was for infants as well as adults, therefore, in the absence of contrary instructions, the introductory sacrament in the New Testament must also be for infants.
The purpose of sacraments is to represent, seal and apply spiritual truths. Sacramental unity is evidenced by the fact that baptism represents exactly the same spiritual truths as circumcision.
- First, they both represent purification from sin: “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked” (Deut. 10:16). Their being stiffnecked was their sin. If their hearts were circumcised they would be stiffnecked no longer, that is, their sin would be taken away. This is taught also in baptism: “Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Here baptism is clearly linked with remission of sins.
- Secondly, they both represent the need of spiritual renewal and a new heart. Circumcision taught this: “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live” (Deut. 30:6). For sinners to love the Lord with all their heart they require nothing less than a new nature altogether. They need to be spiritually renewed, brought out from the death of sin and brought into spiritual life. In this text this new life and heart is likened to circumcision. Colossians 2:13 teaches the same about circumcision: “Being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh.” What is it to be spiritually uncircumcised? It is to be dead in sins. So what must it be to be spiritually circumcised? Surely it must be to be alive unto righteousness. Now this need for spiritual renewal is also taught in baptism: “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Spiritual renewal, leaving the deadness of sin behind and rising up to spiritual life, is represented in baptism then just as it was in circumcision. The baptists like to make much of this aspect of baptism, but we should notice very carefully that it applies equally to circumcision – it is nothing new; it is not specific to baptism.
- Thirdly, both circumcision and baptism represent the gospel truth of righteousness by faith. Circumcision taught it: “And he [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had being yet uncircumcised” (Rom. 4:11). Abraham was a believer before he was circumcised, but when he received circumcision, what did it teach? It spoke of and sealed that righteousness which is by faith alone. The same truth is taught also in baptism: “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead’ (Col. 2:12). Notice that baptism is linked with faith. Those who have been buried with Christ in spiritual baptism are those who have faith in the operation of God, and thus they have the righteousness which is by faith alone. Again, circumcision and baptism both teach this same truth.
- Fourthly, both teach union with Christ. All the other blessings flow from this. It is union with Christ that brings purification from sin, spiritual renewal and righteousness. Apart from union with Christ, none of these benefits are possible. This was taught in circumcision: “In whom [Christ] also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting of the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (Col. 2:11). Circumcision all though the Old Testament spoke of union with a certain Person. And that Person was Christ, the Lord our righteousness. When the apostle speaks of the spiritual meaning of circumcision, in whom is that circumcision to be reckoned? Only in Christ – “In whom [that is, in Christ] ye are circumcised.” Whose circumcision was it? Was it the circumcision of Abraham? No. Was it the circumcision of Moses? No. Rather, it was “the circumcision of Christ.” And why was it Christ’s? Because it taught union with Him, the only way that all covenant blessings can flow to sinners. This is taught in baptism too: “Buried with Him in baptism” (Col. 2:12). Baptism teaches union with Christ. This is the most fundamental lesson of baptism, just as it was the most fundamental lesson of circumcision. The baptists will be quick to agree that baptism teaches union with the Saviour. But they should also acknowledge that circumcision taught the same union. Colossians 2:11,12 proves this in the way that it brings together the two sacraments side by side: “In whom also ye are circumcised . . . Buried with Him in baptism.”
So circumcision and baptism teach the same spiritual truths. Every true believer has both spiritual circumcision and spiritual baptism. Where there is spiritual baptism, there must of necessity be spiritual circumcision. Equally, where there is spiritual circumcision, there must of necessity be spiritual baptism. It must be so, because all the spiritual truths found in circumcision are found in baptism, and all the spiritual truths found in baptism were found in circumcision. These same things are represented by them both.
Let baptists consider this well. For they argue that in the New Testament dispensation infants cannot be baptised because they cannot give evidence of having spiritual baptism by making an adequate profession of saving faith. But if that is a valid criticism of infant baptism, then surely it is an equally valid criticism of infant circumcision. It seems that to be consistent baptists would have been rejecting infant circumcision then just as they reject infant baptism now. Yet they have to admit that infants were not excluded from circumcision then. Neither are they excluded from baptism now. For if circumcision, representing these glorious spiritual realities, was appropriate in God’s sight for infants then, surely baptism, which represents exactly the same spiritual truths, is appropriate for infants now. Although the form of the introductory sacrament has changed, the meaning has not changed at all. Baptists question the propriety of baptism’s significance for infants. But baptism signifies only those things that circumcision did before – yet God commanded it to be applied to infants! It would be utter folly as well as sin for us to try to be wiser than God. Since circumcision by His command was appropriate for infants, so also baptism must be – by command of the same God.
By way of conclusion then, because the Bible is one, because the church is one, because the covenant is one, because the sacrament is one, therefore infants should be baptised just as they were circumcised. Do you believe that the Bible is one, that the church is one, that the covenant is one, that the sacrament is one? If you do, then you must believe in infant baptism.
Rev Keith M Watkins