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Baptism: Why All the Controversy Part 4: Infant Baptism--Consistency/Partial Salvation

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babychristenedLast time I talked about how infant baptism began being a practice and how it continued to develop into the 4th century and became more common. This week, I want to follow up and talk about the current state of infant baptism and how it demonstrates a clear departure from a Biblical foundation.


As I began to study about infant baptism in the current religious would, a few very important discoveries were made. The first was the absolute inconsistency as to the purpose of baptism. Children, according to John Calvin, come into the world under condemnation and sin. This doctrine that Calvin promoted is called the “total depravity of man.” Most denominations that baptize children today, unlike what I discussed last week, do so because of Calvin’s teachings in the early 16th century. Therefore, they will baptize children for the forgiveness of sins. However, many of these same denominations preach and teach that the baptism of adults is NOT essential for salvation or to the forgiveness of sins. It is not wonder that the world is so confused about the Biblical teachings on baptism. They are given contradictory information. How can baptism be for one thing when you are young and another when you are older?


Secondly, some have tried to explain this discrepancy by stating that those who were baptized as infants need to have a type of “confirmation” class at the “age of accountability” to complete their salvation. This sounds like partial salvation that is then made full at this age of accountability. As the Manual for the Church of the Nazarene puts it, “Baptism… is a sign and seal of the new covenant, pointing forward to when the infant child shall reach the age of accountability” (1985, p. 219 – 220). All the scriptures I have studied in the New Testament do not have anything that sounds like this. Salvation does not come in stages! It is freely given to one who is old enough to understand the Gospel requirements of belief, repentance, confession, and immersion (baptism) in water for the remission of sins.


Only when the teachings of man are added to God’s Word does baptism become confusing. God wants His plan for mankind’s salvation to be clear. What good does it do to have a planned our salvation from the beginning (Eph. 1:3 – 10) and then create uncertainly because the instructions were unclear? If you have been baptized as a baby, consider what God’s Word says rather that feeling obligated to an inconsistent man made tradition.

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