The Case For Infant Baptism

February 14, 2009

JLTLCI grew up in traditional non-denominational evangelicalism where baptism was performed only when a child makes a public profession of faith. I can still remember being baptized when I was nine years old. I remember standing in the baptism pool with my pastor speaking into the microphone and announcing to the congregation that baptism is something that Jesus commanded us to do and that the purpose of our baptism was to display the individual’s commitment to Christ. I had never heard of the covenant of grace or signs of initiation into the covenant. If you had told my that churches baptized babies I would have thought you were crazy. I had not even really heard about infant baptism until I was in college. I remember thinking that it seemed quite strange since it would be impossible for an infant to make a profession of faith in Christ. But I remember a friend I respected saying that the biblical argument was actually quite strong for infant baptism. Daniel Hyde’s Jesus Loves the Little Children: Why We Baptize Children gives  a clear, concise, and strong argument for infant baptism.

Being an individual new to confessional Reformed theology, piety, and practice,  this book was a timely read for me.  About three weeks ago I actually just witnessed my first direct experience of infant baptism when a few couples at the Reformed church I am now attending had their babies baptized.

Hyde does a great job of clearly laying out the theological framework for why Reformed churches practice baptism. The book was clear and plainly written and quite irenic. I liked how Hyde dedicated one of the early chapters to clarify some of the terms that he would be using in the book. Hyde writes that “historically speaking, Christians and the Protestant Reformers understood baptism as the visible initiation into the Church of Jesus Christ by means of the outward sign of water.” Further, similar to circumcision, baptism is the sign of initiation into a covenant relationship with God. God is a covenant making God and deals with his people in covenants. The covenant of grace was first announced in the garden in Gen 3:15 and was proclaimed through the prophets. God made a tangible sign of the covenant of grace with Abraham (circumcision) and God commanded Abraham to circumcise his son, Issac, prior to any profession of faith from Issac. Therefore, Issac was circumcised on the eighth day. The sign of circumcision is a bloody sign that typologically points to the death of Christ on the cross.

Hyde basically summarizes the argument for infant baptism on pages 42-43. He says that God’s covenant promises are unchangeable and that he promises to include the children of believers in he covenant in the OT. Further, both the OT and NT are clear that children of the believers are included in the covenant. Therefore, if the children are in the covenant they should not be denied the sign of baptism showing that they are in the covenant.


One Response to “The Case For Infant Baptism”

  1. It looks like you were quite easily convinced about infant baptism. Did you ever look what the Bible actually says about the covenants?

    I did and found that there is no such thing as a covenant of grace. Baptism has not, and could not have replaced circumcision. The two are simply not related.

    I have written about it and will be saying more about it in the future.

    My the Lord lead you into all truth.



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