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Q&As to persuade of the Scriptural Mandate for Infant Baptism

To obtain a right understanding of baptism and why it was the custom of the apostles to baptise entire families (i.e parents with their children, Acts 16:15, 33; 18:8; 1Cor. 1:16) we must consider the command of Christ in the Great Commission and in particular the commands to preach the gospel to all nations and the sealing of same by baptism.


We have set out below a number of question and responses to assist in this understanding.


Question: What is the Gospel?


The good tidings of the fulfilling of the promise.



Question: What was the promise?

The promise to the Fathers concerning Christ and the redemption of the world by him.

Acts 13:32-33

And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

Luke 1:54-55, 69-73. &c.

He hath holpen his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy;

As he spake to our fathers,

to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.


And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us

in the house of his servant David;

As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets,

which have been since the world began

That we should be saved from our enemies,

and from the hand of all that hate us;

To perform the mercy promised to our fathers,

and to remember his holy covenant;

The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,

Acts 2:38-39.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Acts 26:22-23

Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.


Luke 4:18-21

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Question: What can we learn from this?


That the Gospel is as large as the promises were, which included infants.



Question: Can this be proven from scripture?


The Apostles refer the Gospel to the promises, see:

Rom. 4:16

It is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed:

and

Gal. 4:28

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise,

and,

Rom. 15:8-9

Christ was a minister of the circumcision, for the truth of God, to confirm the promises (made) unto the fathers: and that the Gentiles might glorify God for mercy

and,

Gal. 3.22

That the promise by faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe,

and,

2. Tim. 1:1

Paul an Apostle, &c. according to the promise of life, which is in Christ Jesus,

Question: How does this relate to Infant Baptism.


Let’s look at the promise of grace and salvation to Abraham and to his seed, Gen. 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

This is shown by the Gospel to be confirmed:

Luk. 1.55

As he spake to our fathers,

to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Act. 2.38-39,

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

and

Gal. 3:14, 16, 29.

That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.


Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.


And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Question: Does this promise relate then to infant seed?

Yes, the promise to Abraham’s seed implied his infants, Gen. 17:7, 10, 12, therefore the Gospel (which is the complement of that promise) implies our infants.

The Apostle confirms this by saying “the promise is to you and to your children” Act. 2:39.

And the sign and seal of the promise was given to Abraham’s children IN infancy, Gen. 17:10, 12, (see below) therefore it belongs to our children in their infancy.

This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.


And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

This is confirmed again by the Apostle Paul as we are said to be the children of promise as Isaac was (Gal. 4:28). But Isaac was the child of promise IN HIS INFANCY, and had then the seal of the promise in his infancy, when he was but eight days old, Acts 7:8,

And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.

wherefore we also in our infancy are children of the promise, and have right to the seal of the covenant even then, or else we are not as Isaac was.


The basis of this argument is taken from Henry Ainsworth's Censure of the Anabaptists, which can be found in an eight part series on Reasonable Religion.


 

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