Child being blessed
Traditionally, the Church of God has a ceremony, most often in the Fall in modern times, called the “blessing of little children” for infants and young children. At the Feast of Tabernacles this has occurred in the Continuing Church of God (watch The Blessing of Little Children Ceremony).
Greco-Roman faiths do not do that. Instead, groups such as Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Lutherans practice infant baptism. (Here is a link to this information in the Spanish language Bautismo de infantes o bendición de los niños pequeños.)
Which is scriptural?
Baptism of Infants/Children
Of the 100 or so times the terms Baptist, baptize, baptized, etc. are used of those in the New Testament, there is never one time that infants or young children are specifically mentioned as being baptized.
There is no recorded instance that baptism was allowed unless there was some type of repentance or professed belief. The Roman Catholic Church (as well as other churches, like the Eastern Orthodox) understand that, but they changed the practice for infants.
Notice what a Catholic named Jodocus Tiletanus admitted:
We are not satisfied with that which the apostles or the Gospel do declare, but we say that, as well as before as after, there are divers matters of importance and weight accepted and received out of a doctrine which is NOWHERE SET FORTH IN WRITING. For we do blesse the water wherewith we baptize, and the oyle wherewith we annoynt; yea and besides that, him that is christened. And (I pray you) OUT OF WHAT SCRIPTURE have we learned the same? HAVE WE NOT IT OF A SECRET AND UNWRITTEN ORDINANCE? And further what scripture hath taught us to grease with oyle? Yea, I pray you, whence cometh it, that we do dype the child three times in that water? Doth it not come out of this hidden and undisclosed doctrine, which our forefathers have received closely without any curiosity, and do observe it still? (Harvet, Gentianus. Review of Epistles, PP. 19B, 20A, London 1598, as quoted by Hislop, A in The Two Bablyons, emphasis mine).
Hence it is known that infant baptism is not from scripture and that somehow it entered Catholicism from a ‘secret’ ordinance. Furthermore, the Catholic Church itself teaches the following about baptism:
Baptismal Vows The name popularly given to the renunciations required of an adult candidate for baptism just before the sacrament is conferred. In the case of infant baptism, they are made in the name of the child by the sponsors (Delany J.F. Transcribed by Janet Grayson. Baptismal Vows. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).
1427 Jesus calls to conversion. This call is an essential part of the proclamation of the kingdom: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” In the Church’s preaching this call is addressed first to those who do not yet know Christ and his Gospel. Also, Baptism is the principal place for the first and fundamental conversion. It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 398).
However, since a baby cannot repent nor confess belief in Christ, any statement by an adult sponsor cannot be imputed to the baby. That is one of the most important reasons why infant baptism is not appropriate. The Catechism of the Catholic Church sort of even admits that when it states:
1231…By its very nature infant baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth…
1254 For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism…
1255 For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents help is important. So too, is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized–child or adult–on the road to the Christian life. There task is a truluy ecclesial function (officium) (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, pp. 342,351).
What is a required post-baptismal catechumenate? The statement does not make logical sense (as the dictionary definition of catechumenate does not seem to mean “godparents”, it seems to mean one new to the faith instead, which is about the same definition of a catechumen). More importantly, an infant does not have any faith to begin with, hence cannot the have faith that grows after baptism. An infant is incapable of repentance and no one can repent for someone else (the Bible, in Philippians 2:12 teaches, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”).
In addition, there is nothing in the entire Bible that suggests that any “godparents” are assigned to either children or adults after baptism (there also is no example of infant baptism in the entire Bible). How can “the role of the godfather and godmother” be an important and ecclesial function if it is not even mentioned in the Bible? It is also not mentioned in any early Christian writings.
But there are some of them who assert that it is superfluous to bring persons to the water, but mixing oil and water together, they place this mixture on the heads of those who are to be initiated, with the use of some such expressions as we have already mentioned. And this they maintain to be the redemption (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book 1, Chapter 21, Verse 4).
Yet is this not close to what is done today within Roman Catholicism, as well as other groups, that practice infant baptism?
Blessing of Little Children is Scriptural
On the other hand, the Bible does enjoin the fact that infants/toddlers can be prayed for and blest. Notice what Jesus said and did:
14 “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them (Mark 10:14-16).
15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Luke 18:15-17)
13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there. (Matthew 19:13-15)
It is likely that the worldly churches, who had read the accounts in the gospels and perhaps heard of it performed in the early COG, may have used that as part of their justification.
In fact, when I researched this further, I found that the Catholic Church does refer to this passage in Luke 18 & Matthew 19 as part of its justification for infant baptism (see article Baptism in The Catholic Encyclopedia). But sadly, they are confusing a blessing ceremony with baptism.
None of the children that Jesus laid hands on are recorded to have been immersed into water or sprinkled with water prior to Jesus blessing them (which is part of why I thought I should list all the accounts in the gospels on this).
Hence what Jesus did WAS NOT a form of infant baptism, but instead a ceremony that is retained by relatively few today, like those of us in the Continuing Church of God (you can also watch that ceremony The Blessing of Little Children Ceremony). But oddly, those groups that embrace infant baptism do not seem to have kept this.
Some items of possibly related interest may include:
Blessing of Children or Infant Baptism? Which does the Bible endorse? A video of related interest is available: The Blessing of Little Children Ceremony.
Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church Was it by immersion? Did it include infants? Does Polycarp prove infant baptism? Here is a link to some information in the Spanish language: Bautismo de infantes o bendición de los niños pequeños. A related sermon video is titled Baptism: What is it and how should it be done?
Did Real Christians Practice Nude Baptism? This is not a joke. Find out what was taught in the second and later centuries.
Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
Real Conversion Many think that they are converted Christians. But are they? Would you like to know more about conversion.
False Conversion Have you really been converted? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this article on this important subject.
All About Water Baptism What is baptism? Would you like to know more about it. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. As far as early history, see also Baptism and the Early Church.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?