In our study of the biblical text we have seen that only believers were baptised in the Gospels and Acts and we saw that, for Paul, baptism is a sign that one has died and been raised with Christ. If we take these together we must conclude then that the practice of the early church, and I would argue the most biblically sustainable practice, is to only baptise those with faith. Or to put it negatively we must not baptise infants if our findings so far are in anyway legitimate.
There are some things I think I have not addressed that my padeobaptist brothers and sisters want me to discuss.
Firstly, I see a similarities and differences with respect to circumcision and baptism and how they function under their separate covenants. The similarities are: they were an initiatory right, they were done to signify the people were in the covenant and they both point to Jesus. But it is this pointing to Jesus as to where they are significantly different. Circumcision was tied to the promises given to Abraham and therefore pointed to the future reality of Jesus coming and his salvation whereas baptism points back to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Circumcision says that Jesus will come and will rescue but baptism is a sign that these realities have come. This is significant because in a typological way baptism anticipates new covenant realities but they do not say that these realities are true of us where as baptism is a sign of the new covenant and as a sign of the new covenant signifies that the grace of God has been given to us and they are true of us. So we must not say that circumcision and baptism work the same way and therefore we can baptise children because they circumcised children. This argument does not grapple with the nature of baptism and circumcision.
Secondly, I would not think that a brother in Christ who baptises infants is not a brother in Christ. Even though I have spent a few blogs talking about believers baptism I don’t think that it is a first order gospel issue. It definitely isn’t something I would break fellowship over and I would have communion with a brother who gives infants a nice little sprinkle.
I hope these blogs have helped you think more about Baptism and what it is and isn’t. May we, whatever we believe about baptism, pray and preach the gospel so that we are able to baptise streams of new believers.