They are using the verses, 1 Cor 1:16 and Acts 16:15 which both say that a “household” was baptized. With a presumption that a “household” , the entire family has children and babies with them, they conclude that infants can receive baptism. This inconclusive line of thinking even begets more irrational consequence. Even some domestic animals are considered “household pets”. So, it is not far fetched that in Catholic Church even animals will get baptism too!
In order to fully come to the knowledge of truth on this issue, there are basic questions that must be answered:
a. What is baptism for?
b. Who and How did the early Christians get baptized?
c. Is there any biblical record where infants received baptism?
d. What is the Christian practice of receiving babies and children?
Baptism in the Bible
Baptism is for remission of sins. As written,
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. (Mark 1:4)Having a remission of sin, one shall receive the holy spirit. As written,
And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. (Matthew 3:6)
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)Baptism is also baptism to the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. As written,
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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. (Romans 6:3-4)
Follow-Up Clarificatory Question: If baptism is for remission of sin, then why did our Lord Jesus Christ receive baptism from John if our Lord had never committed sin?
The answer is directly from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself when John the Baptist was hesitant to administer the baptism to our Lord. As written,
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (Matthew 3:13-16)
Before receiving baptism, the person must be a believer (i.e capacity to believe)
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)But how can someone believe if not receiving the words of God? As written,
And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. (Acts 18:8)
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10: 14)
It is necessary that a person must hear the words of God before believing. In the case of early Christians, they heard the Gospel before receiving baptism. As written,
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)Baptism is for men and women. As written,
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12).Men and Women are mature individuals that are capable to receive teachings and capable to observe all things commanded by Christ. As written,
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Baptism is also into one body. Thus,
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Cor 12:13)
The body being referred to is no other than the Church (Col 1:18).
In terms of method or procedure of baptism, the bible is so vivid to describe it. Baptism requires a lot of water. As written,
And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. (John 3:23)The person to be baptized and the one who will administer it shall both go down into the water just like the case of the eunuch being baptized by Philip. As written,
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 8:38)Baptism is described as “burial” with the death of Jesus Christ. As written,
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. (Romans 6:4)In IGLESIA NI CRISTO (Church of Christ), baptism is conducted in places with much waters such as river, sea, and pool. The method is by immersion just like burying.
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)
HOW ABOUT INFANT BAPTISM?
Is there any biblical record that infants and babies get baptism? NONE. Based on above-mentioned biblical truths, infants and babies are not capable to receive baptism.
a. Babies and infants do not have faculty to believe.
b. Babies and infants do not have the faculty to discern the concept of sin.
c. Babies and infants do not have the faculty to receive teachings and commandments of God for them to observe.
d. It is physically unsafe for babies and infants to receive the method of baptism as written in the bible.
With all these limitations, how did the early Christians receive babies and infants into the congregation? When our Lord Jesus Christ was born, he was offered to God under Jewish custom as written in Luke 2: 22- 32.
At the time of Christ, infants were brought unto our Lord Jesus Christ for Him to put hands and pray for them. Parallel accounts are written in the gospel. As written,
Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. ( Matthew 19:13-15)
And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)
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.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. (Luke 18:15-17)
In IGLESIA NI CRISTO (Church of Christ), infants and little children are offered to God by laying on of hands and prayer by minister in a congregational worship. The child is called “HANDOG”.