Home > Baptism > Many defend infant baptism by saying that it is not forbidden in the Word of God

Many defend infant baptism by saying that it is not forbidden in the Word of God

There is still one other argument however, which is supposed by many, to be sufficient to sustain infant baptism upon a scriptural basis, as a “divine institution.” I am told It is not forbidden in the word of God. It may therefore be practiced. Not forbidden, forsooth! Infant baptism not forbidden in the word of God! It may therefore, be practiced! And is this the fashion of your argument? Upon this principle what may you not do? You are obliged to baptize all to whom God has commanded the ordinance to be administered; and you may also baptize all others whose baptism he has not expressly forbidden! What shall I say of a proposition so monstrous? Its folly can be concealed from no one, who will think for a single moment on the subject. Need I enter into its formal refutation? This is surely unnecessary. Yet, since the argument is so easy and plain, it may be as well to prove that infant baptism is in truth, actually prohibited by the word of God.

It is prohibited, in the first place, by the fact that it is unrecognized in the sacred records, as a divine institution. The great Christian axiom which teaches that “The word of God is a perfect rule of faith and practice,” is, as we have seen, adopted by every Protestant denomination upon the face of the earth. We have, besides this, seen that it is fully sustained by the teachings of divine revelation, and that no other principle in religion, can be true in theory, or safe in practice. Whatever God has revealed, we are bound to receive in the love of it, and to obey with reverence, and fidelity, without addition, diminution, or change. Infant baptism, we have clearly seen, is not taught in the Bible. Its friends and advocates confess that it does not there appear, and therefore they vainly seek to sustain it by tradition, and the authority of early Christian Fathers. Is all this true? Is the word of God not a perfect rule of faith and practice? Are you, as taught by Moses and Paul, permitted to add any thing to the commandments of God, or to diminish aught from them? Dare you receive any doctrine as an article of faith. Or practice any rite as a Christian ordinance, not taught, and instituted by Jehovah? To these inquires who will venture an affirmative answer? No one, surely. Is infant baptism directly enjoined in the word of God? It confessedly is not. Then it is not by the word of God allowed. It is unlawful. And that which cannot be allowed, because it is not lawful, is clearly prohibited. Thus God has, in his word, clearly prohibited infant baptism.

Infant baptism is prohibited, secondly, by the apostolic commission. This is the “law of baptism” instituted by Jesus Christ himself, and the “only law, as Baxter justly observes, “he ever ordained on the subject.” As recorded by Mark, it has the following reading: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.” This statue is perfectly simple and perspicuous. It ordains first, that the gospel shall be preached; secondly, that it shall be preached to every creature; thirdly, that all those who believe the gospel shall be baptized; and fourthly, it promises that those who so believe, and are baptized, shall be saved. These are all positive declarations. Every positive necessarily has its negative. And does not every one know that the requirement of the positive is, as a general rule, the prohibition of the negative? When God commands you to do a specified thing, the command embraces that particular thing only; and all that is not embraced is, by the very terms of the order, necessarily excluded. Especially is forbidden whatever is inconsistent with the faithful performance of the duty enjoined. All these are self-evident truths. Let them be applied to the law of baptism as contained in the commission. Only those are permitted to preach who are called of God to the work; they are not allowed to preach, as coming from Christ, any thing but the gospel; and those, and those alone, who believe the gospel, they are required to baptize. The persons to be baptized are minutely described. They are believers. Believers therefore, and believers only, are to be baptized. A law to baptize believers is necessarily confined in its administration to believers. It embraces no others. To baptize any others is a violation of the law. It is unlawful. It is prohibited. Infants are not believers. The baptism of infants supersedes and prevents the baptism of believers, and is therefore inconsistent with a faithful compliance with the law. Every violation of the law is unlawful, and consequently prohibited. Infant baptism is a violation of the law; is therefore unlawful; and consequently by the law itself, clearly prohibited.

Infant baptism, thirdly, is prohibited by the very nature and design of baptism. This ordinance was instituted and enjoined as the form in which you publicly profess your faith in Christ, and devote yourself to his service. Paul so teaches when he says, “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Episcopalians and Methodists consent to this truth when they concur in the declaration that it “is a sign of profession, and a mark of difference, whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized.”[16] Presbyterians and Congregationalists, of all classes, regard it as “not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church, but also,” of “his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life.”[17] In this great fact, therefore, all parties are in theory agreed. I now submit the inquiry whether such a profession of faith, and devotion to Christ, as baptism expresses, must not necessarily be a voluntary and intelligent act, on the part of the baptized? To me no fact appears more certain. To those who are incapable of such voluntary and intelligent action, baptism can never be administered. Infants cannot profess their faith, even if they had any faith to profess. They cannot devote themselves to Christ. By the very nature of the ordinance, therefore, since they are incapable of compliance with its demands, they cannot be baptized. Any baptism which is unreasonable and inconsistent, because it does not embrace the design, nor express the sense of the ordinance, is unlawful, and therefore prohibited. Infant baptism is unreasonable and inconsistent, because it does not embrace the design, nor express the sense of the ordinance. It is therefore unlawful. It is prohibited.

It must now, I think, be evident to every unprejudiced mind that infant baptism is by the word of God actually prohibited. It is prohibited by the fact that it is unrecognized in the sacred records, as a divine institution; it is prohibited by the terms of the apostolic commission; and it is prohibited by the very nature and design of baptism.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 1- Infant Baptism is an evil because its practice is unsupported by the Word of God

  1. March 20, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Many things are not forbidden in the Scriptures, but that doesn’t mean that believers are to engage in them. The arguments made for infant baptism are Biblically and theologically nonsensical.

    Thank you for this series of posts for the Biblical doctrine of credo-baptism. I’ve enjoyed them.

    • April 4, 2020 at 2:52 pm

      I absolutely agree Brother Richard. The arguments for infant baptism are not to be found rooted in scripture, but in a presuppositional bias brought to the scriptures.

      Your welcome brother. Thank you for following and commenting.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: