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Should we baptize babies, considering they don’t know what baptism is?

Full Question

Isn’t it wrong to baptize a baby? After all, they don’t even know what baptism is.

Answer

On the contrary, it would be the best thing you could do for a baby. Baptism is a grace from God, not something we do for God. Grace does not depend on our intellectual achievements any more than it depends on any other human achievement. This is one of the many ironies inherent in opposition to the ancient Christian practice of infant baptism. To refuse baptism to a baby on the grounds that “the child isn’t able to understand what is happening” is to presume that God gives grace only to those who are smart or old enough to figure out how to get it. This is an implicit assumption of salvation by intellectual works specifically condemned by Scripture and Catholic teaching.










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14 comments

  1. Silvano Reply

    The official reply is so crystal clear, that there is no need of any further comments. At the same moment, though, I would like to stress another angle on this matter. Once we are baptized, we do recognize the imperative importance of baptism, as the grace of God given to us in order for us to be saved. From the moment of baptism onwards, we are part of the Body of Christ, we become a living part of Christ, a status that is so powerful and so good, so much that we become holy because Jesus, the Head of the body, is holy. And if we stick to it, if we do all what we can to remain in His body, we have the guarantee, that we are going to have eternal life. All the other people, who do not know Christ, are in a different body, the sinful body of humanity, and only through baptism a person leaves that sinful body and goes into the holy body, the Body of Christ.
    Now, this is the point that I want to make: If a couple, who are part of the Body of Christ, have a baby, that baby is in the other body, the sinful body of humanity until he/she receives baptism, while his/her parents are in the holy body of Christ. You see the point? If you are a true believer, how long would you wait to have your baby with you, in the body of Christ? In the body of Christ you will find all the graces you need, the soul’s food, the joy, the happiness, the serenity, the strength, the communion with all the other members of the body of Christ, including of course Christ Himself, Him being the head. How long would you deny all these things to your own child, that was given to you by God Himself as a gift? How long would you endure to be separated from your child? Physically, a mother would not stay away from her baby not even one single hour (ask any mother)…. and spiritually? How long will you see your baby in the sinful body of humanity, away from you? That is the point. I personally pity and pray for those parents, who say that they let the child decide when he/she grows up…. these parents do not know at all, what is going on. They think baptism is like a entry ceremony into a club or an association. They are wrong. Only through baptism, we die to sin and we are born IN Christ. Notice the IN, meaning inside Christ, and become part of His Body. Would you not want your child to be with you immediately, so that the whole family is united IN the Body of Christ? Of course, you would, if you really believe in it. And we all know, Faith is another gift from God.

  2. Brent Reply

    Sorry you have it wrong- we are not brought into the body of Christ by baptism- we are brought in by repentance and receiving of Jesus Christ as Saviour- John 1:14

    1. Silvano Reply

      Brent, at the time of John, of Saint John the evangelist, everyone he talked to or wrote letter to, were adults. There was not as yet, a generation of Christians, who were pagans at first, and now they were having children. So, his message was written or given to adults. As an adult pagan, you should repent of your sinful life, yes, and you should accept Jesus as your saviour in order to change your life, and you start to do that by receiving the baptism. You are correct. But once we have a Christian population, and they are having babies, they have one sin, which they cannot repent from, because they did not do it, the original sin. You can repent as much as you want, but you cannot do that for the sin you inherited from Adam and Eve. That is way, babies can be baptised as they have only this sin to clean. And as a parent, you teach your babies how to eat, how to wash themselves, how to dress, what language they are going to speak, namely yours, what culture they are going to have, namely yours and you do all these things without asking them. Why? Because you are a responsible parent, that is why. Now, if you fee so responsible to do all of these material things for your babies’ sake, including washing them when they are dirty, why would you be so protesting agaisnt doing the same thing for the spiritual welfare of your babies? Wash them with baptism, because they are dirty of the original sin, teach them about Jesus and all of His teaching, because you are a beleiver, or are you not? Don’t deprive your babies of the Grace of God, by keeping them obscure of God, by haing them to keep the dirt of the original sin on their souls, until they are old enough to decide for themselves. You don’t thing like that when it comes to material things, so why do you think like that for spiritual things? Isn’t the spiritual welfare of your children more important than the material one? Besides, both Saint Peter and Saint Paul baptised entire families, children included, it enough that the head of the familty accepted Christ as the saviour, not each single member. Read the Acts of the Apostles, please.

  3. James Sams Reply

    Why wasn’t Yeshua [Jesus] baptized, as a child; but, was taken, instead, to the Temple, to be consecrated to Adonai? Why was Yeshua baptized, when He was thirty [30] years of age?

    1. Silvano Reply

      James, all Christians, Catholic or not, believe that baptism will take away all your sins, most important of all and especially the original sin. If Jesus received His baptism for this reason, than you must believe the impossible and that is, that Jesus had sins. Now, if you believe that, you have missed out something or you are just a bit confused. Jesus did not need to be baptised at all, so His baptism has to have a different meaning. Usually, when one is baptised, his/her life changes. Jesus wanted to change His life from a private life of a carpenter to a public life of the Christ, the Messiah. Further, He had to release John the Baptist from his preparatory work, because now Jesus was ready to start His public work. By going to John the Baptist and being baptised by him, Jesus did just that, and God the Father used this event to officially annouce that Jesus was His son, the Messiah. Jesus’ baptism got nothing to do with relinquish the sins that the baptised had, as Jesus, being God Himself has no sins, so you cannot take Jesus’ baptism as an example that people should be baptised as adults, that is the line of the protestans and of the non-demoniantional Christians. We are Catholic and express here our view, like it or not.

      1. Rommel Reply

        ahah… ok, it’s your own view, not the biblical way of baptism…

  4. Silvano Reply

    Brent, your view is the official line of the protestants or so called non-denominational Christians, not of our Catholic Church…. which one of them are you from? I like to know that, so that I can make further comment to your reply. Thanks for your answer.

  5. David Reply

    What is original sin? How could a child inherit the kingdom if he is sinful? Why would Jesus ask is to be as a sinful child? Lots of questions I know

  6. Mike Reply

    In the old testament, babies are circumcised to be part of the old covenant with God. In the new testament, babies are also baptized to be part of the new covenant. In old covenant, the ark of covenant is revered. In the new covenant, the new ark of covenant Mary is revered. In the old covenant, mana fell from heaven for food of Israelite on their way to promise land. In the new covenant, bread with the substance of Flesh of God is given to Christians on their way to the new earth. In the old covenant, eve was born without sin and say yes to devil’s temptation. In the new covenant, new eve or Mary was born without sin and say yes to God. In the old testament, the persons that seats chair of Moses teach infallibly. In the new covenant, the pope who seat in the chair of Peter teach infallibly. We should interpret the new testament in light with the old.

    1. David Reply

      1.Where does it mention babies being baptized? It doesn’t

      2. Everyone is born sinless

      1. Silvano Reply

        David, don’t disclassify yourself by saying that…I could quote many verses in the bible that say that we are all born with the original sin……but what is the use…..man, go and learn the Word of God first, and then humbly come back and say what you want to say….but to say that we are born sinless….wow, are you a follower of Christ?

        1. David Reply

          …. That was not a proper reply to my comment. You didn’t quote anything and you tried to discredit my comment by talking negatively. Show me where in the bible it says we are born sinners or where it mentions babies being baptized.

          ARE BABIES BORN WITH SIN?
          There is a popular belief in the religious world that teaches that all humans inherit sin from their parents. Is this true? Are babies born sinful and in danger of hell? Or are babies born innocent? Only one of these options can be true.

          This concept of hereditary sin is often referred to as “original sin,” or in Calvinism, “total hereditary depravity,” promoting that there is nothing inherently good about a child. There must be a reason that people believe this, right? Is there a biblical reason? There is one, well known passage that advocates of original sin use to preach their doctrine. That passage is Psalm 51:5, which records king David saying,

          Psalm 51:5: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin my mother conceived me.

          There is another, less popular passage sometimes used by those who teach original sin.

          Psalm 58:3-6: The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth. They have venom like the venom of a serpent; like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear, So that it does not hear the voice of charmers, or a skillful caster of spells. O God, shatter their teeth in their mouth; break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord.

          Do these passages really teach that you and I were born as sinful infants? Let us consider this question. First, we must learn whether these verses are to be taken literally or figuratively. Both of these verses were written in Hebrew poetry. In most forms of poetry, especially Hebrew poetry, authors often use figures of speech to emphasize their points. It is common to find similes and hyperboles in all types of poetry. We must not neglect this fact. We must approach God’s word, being ready to discern from literal and figurative language. Are these verses to be taken literally or figuratively? We will come back to this question toward the end of the study. Let’s analyze some other verses first.

          INNOCENT OR GUILTY?
          Are babies born innocent or guilty?

          Ezekiel 18:20: The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.

          This verse plainly teaches that the righteous father will not be held guilty for his son’s sins. Likewise, a righteous son will not be guilty for his father’s sins. Instead, it is upon each individual person whether or not he or she lives a righteous or wicked life.

          Romans 14:12: So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

          We must understand that sin is spoken of in Scripture as something chosen, and not inherited.

          1 John 3:4: Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

          We read in Scripture that there is a time in a person’s life when he or she “knows enough to refuse evil and choose good” (Isa. 7:15-16). Evil is something one chooses, not inherits.

          Jesus promises, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18:3). Does Jesus want us to convert and become like lawless, sinful children, who are destined for hell? Jesus promises us that we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven if we do not become like children (see also 1 Cor. 14:20). Children obviously represent innocence. This verse makes no sense if children are born totally depraved. Sin separates us from God (Isa. 59:2). If children are sinful, they are separated from God. But they are innocent. That’s why we have to become like them (innocent, teachable, trusting) to enter the kingdom of heaven. Why else would Jesus tell us to become like children?

          Similarly, Jesus told His disciples on one occasion, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Mt. 19:14). Again, think about what this verse would mean if children inherit sin. The kingdom of heaven would belong to those separated from God. Instead, since children are innocent, the kingdom of heaven belongs to the innocent- those who belong to God.

          Scripture teaches us that, at death, “the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7). The parents do not give the soul to a child, but God does. If God hates sin (Ps. 45:7), cannot look at sin (Isa. 59:2), and is the giver of the spirit, a newborn baby’s soul cannot be sinful.

          Please note that I am not being derogatory on this next point; I am pointing out the difference between the Bible and a popular religious idea. We must decide to follow the Bible instead of a man-made creed or idea. The Catholic Church holds strongly to the idea of original sin. They teach that sin, based on Psalm 51:5, is passed down from every mother to every child. The doctrine of original sin allows them to go through with their other man-made teaching, infant baptism. They also know what original sin must mean concerning Jesus. A natural question is if sin is passed through our parents (at least our mother), what about Jesus? He was born of woman; therefore, outside of His power, He would have to be born sinful, and therefore, could not forgive sins (1 Pet. 1:18-19). To address this problem, the Catholic Church has invented another teaching that will never be found in the Bible, and they know this. It is called the “Immaculate Conception.” You have probably heard of this teaching. Most people think that this teaching claims that Jesus’ conception was perfect; therefore, He was not born in sin. This is not what it teaches. Instead, it teaches that Mary’s conception was perfect, and that Mary lived a sinless life, so when Christ was born, there was no sin for Jesus to inherit. To read about this first-hand, read paragraphs 490-93 in the Catholic Catechism (where Scripture is never referenced). This teaching is obviously not found in the Bible. You know it; I know it; the Catholic Church knows it. That is why they have to read it in their catechism (man-made), not in the Bible (God-made). Although we can point out the flaws of this teaching using logic, only one observation is needed. And that observation is the fact that the doctrine of original sin and the “Immaculate Conception” are not taught in the Bible.

          SCRIPTURE EXPLANATIONS
          How, then, do we explain the meaning of Psalm 51:5? When looking at this verse with fresh eyes, not having been convinced of the doctrine of original sin, no one would interpret, “in sin my mother conceived me,” to claim that David was born sinful. Consider what T. W. Brendts writes on this verse: “Were the wife to say, ‘In drunkenness my husband beat me,’ or the child that ‘in anger my father whipped me,’ surely no one would attribute drunkenness to the wife or anger to the child; neither can they impute the sin of the mother to the child” (The Gospel Plan of Salvation, 134). Some say that David meant that he was born into a sinful world. Some say that David was conceived during a sinful act. Some say David is alluding to an affair in his lineage (Genesis 38). Some say that David is using strong language to refer to his sinful nature and, with hyperbole, claim he has been sinful “his entire life,” which seems to be the clearest explanation, considering the context of the passage and the style of writing. We use similar language, don’t we? One may say, “I’ve been playing piano my entire life!” Surely, no one has ever played the piano out of the womb (especially from conception). It is a claim that the piano has been a part of that person’s life ever since he or she was able to use a piano (a hyperbole).

          Psalm 58:3-6: The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth. They have venom like the venom of a serpent; like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear, So that it does not hear the voice of charmers, or a skillful caster of spells. O God, shatter their teeth in their mouth; break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord.

          What if we took both this text and Psalm 51 literally? We would see a contradiction between the two Bible passages. If Psalm 51 teaches original sin, then the infant becomes sinful at conception. If Psalm 58 teaches original sin, the infant becomes sinful at birth. Which one is it? We obviously cannot take these passages literally. If we did, we wouldn’t be talking about humans at all; we would be talking about young lions with fangs and the venom of a snake! Using hyperbole, the author shows us that the sinner “goes astray” (these words are actually used in the passage); he is not “born astray” (these words are not used in the passage).

          CONCLUSION
          As the Bible rejects the teachings of original sin, I hope you do too. God creates humans. God gives them their souls. God does not give defective, despised blessings. Instead, the baby is born with an innocent soul, and as he or she matures, the decision must be made to do right or wrong (Isa. 7:15-16).

  7. Charles Reply

    Deviation from the discussion… I noticed the first ad at the top of the page… “Come worship with us: Mormon.org”… Weird?

  8. Samuel Ntsri Reply

    Enter your comment here… No one can pass down to others their
    personal sins. We say that the original sin of
    Adam and Eve is passed down through the
    generations, but original sin is not the actual
    fault of the recipient. Rather, its effect is the
    privation of grace and the loss of original
    innocence that our first parents had.
    Likewise, one can pass the effects of one’s
    sins through generations. Let’s say that
    someone is an alcoholic. His original choice
    to abuse alcohol could have disastrous
    effects on his family that can last for
    generations, including influencing his children
    and grandchildren to abuse alcohol. This is
    not because they are guilty of their father’s
    sin but because dependency on alcohol is the
    only way they learned to deal with problems.
    In that way one can say that the sin of the
    father has been passed down through
    generations. It is not the actual fault that is
    passed down but the consequences of the
    original sinful choice.

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