Blessing of Little Children or Infant Baptism

COGwriter

Does the Bible endorse blessing little children? Does the Bible endorse baptism of infants?

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. To see such a ceremony 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 some of this information in the Spanish language Bautismo de infantes o bendición de los niños pequeños.)

Which is scriptural?

A related video is available: Infant Baptism Scripture and History.

Children Can Be Blessed and the Children of Believers are Sanctified

The Bible tells that children can be blessed.

Notice what God said to Abraham:

18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice. (Genesis 22:18)

As the above shows, blessings to and from descendants happens because believers obey God's voice.

God also teaches:

32 "Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways. (Proverbs 8:32)

7 The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him. (Proverbs 20:7)

Notice, that if one parent is a believer, any children he/she have are sanctified by God:

12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. (1 Corinthians 7:12-14)

Notice that the children are NOT mentioned as being sanctified because of being baptized, but simply because one or more parents is a true Christian.

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 the Flemish Catholic theologian named Jodocus Tiletanus (more commonly now referred to as Josse Ravesteyn, also spelled Ravestein; see Georgius Cassander’s 'De officio pii viri' (1561): Critical edition with contemporary French and German translations Volume 134 of Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte. Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 2016, p. 3) admitted in a book written in 1567 against the the confession of the preachers of Antwerp (The Beehive of the Romish Church. Lulu, 2008, p. 21):

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 and declared that infant baptism is not from scripture. Notice that it is claimed to have somehow entered Catholicism from a secret ordinance.

The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that infant baptism and other practices are simply based upon tradition:

The designation of unwritten Divine traditions was not always given all the clearness desirable especially in early times; however Catholic controversialists soon proved to the Protestants that to be logical and consistent they must admit unwritten traditions as revealed. Otherwise by what right did they rest on Sunday and not on Saturday? How could they regard infant baptism as valid, or baptism by infusion? How could they permit the taking of an oath, since Christ had commanded that we swear not at all? The Quakers were more logical in refusing all oaths, the Anabaptists in re-baptizing adults, the Sabbatarians in resting on Saturday. (Bainvel J. Transcribed by Tomas Hancil. Tradition and Living Magisterium. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

It is true that most of the traditions mentioned above are practices that most in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches accept. Since those traditions do contradict the biblical accounts (and even The Catholic Encyclopedia admitted that on most of them), those practices should be rejected and should not be part of the traditions of either of those groups. This rejection is consistent with the previously cited writing by Irenaeus, who is accepted as a Saint by the Catholics, the Orthodox supporters, and many of the Protestants. It is also consistent with the Sola Scriptura position publicly taken by Martin Luther and most of the Protestant followers. Most importantly, rejecting those practices is consistent with the teachings of Jesus that we are not to accept the traditions of men above the commands or other words of God.

If infant baptism was strongly encouraged by the Bible, it is not likely Tertullian would have written (late second/early third century):

But they whose office it is, know that baptism is not rashly to be administered...God's approbation sends sure premonitory tokens before it; every " petition " may both deceive and be deceived. And so, according to the circumstances and disposition, and even age, of each individual, the delay of baptism is preferable; principally, however, in the case of little children...The Lord does indeed say, "Forbid them not to come unto me." Let them "come," then, while they are growing up; let them "come" while they are learning, while they are learning whither to come; let them become Christians when they have become able to know Christ. Why does the innocent period of life hasten to the "remission of sins?...If any understand the weighty import of baptism, they will fear its reception more than its delay: sound faith is secure of salvation (Tertullian. On Baptism, Chapter 18. Translated by S. Thelwall).

Infants are incapable of possessing a sound faith. Hence it is clear that infant baptism was not widely understood to be a biblically encouraged practice as late as the beginning of the third century. The only thing that seems to be realized is that Jesus blest little children (which is what that passage related to "Forbid them not" is related to).

Also notice what Eastern Orthodox Archbishop Gregory Nazianzen taught in the fourth century:

Be it so, some will say, in the case of those who ask for Baptism; what have you to say about those who are still children, and conscious neither of the loss nor of the grace? Are we to baptize them too? Certainly, if any danger presses...But in respect of others I give my advice to wait till the end of the third year, or a little more or less, when they may be able to listen and to answer something about the Sacrament; that, even though they do not perfectly understand it, yet at any rate they may know the outlines; and then to sanctify them in soul and body with the great sacrament of our consecration (Oration 40: The Oration on Holy Baptism, Chapter XXVIII. Preached at Constantinople Jan. 6, 381).

In other words, unless some child was about to die, even into the late fourth century, baptism of infants and small children was not a universal practice, nor requirement. And actually what was still advocated is that the person (even if a small child) should be able to "be able to listen and to answer something about" baptism.

The Catholic Encyclopedia clearly admits that infant baptism was a practice that eventually became customary--in other words it was not part of the original faith. Notice:

Further, when infant baptism became customary, confirmation was not administered until the child had attained the use of reason. This is the present practice, though there is considerable latitude as to the precise age (Scannell T.B. Transcribed by Charles Sweeney. Confirmation. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Perhaps it should be mentioned here that "confirmation" did not become an issue until after infant baptism was accepted. Notice this admission:

Before the time of Tertullian the Fathers do not make any explicit mention of confirmation as distinct from baptism. The fact that the two sacraments were conferred together may account for this silence (Scannell T.B. Transcribed by Charles Sweeney. Confirmation. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Actually, since baptism was not done for infants, there was no need to have a separate confirmation. Nor does the Bible anywhere explicitly teach about the need for properly baptized individuals to be later confirmed. The idea of a separate confirmation is clearly another tradition of men--and is not even truly claimed to be a "tradition for the apostles" by any early writer.

Notice that one associated with the Eastern Orthodox admits that infant baptism is not based upon scripture:

I myself must admit that I did not always feel comfortable about the Orthodox Church baptizing infants. I asked myself several other questions as well: "How can an infant 'believe and be baptized'?" "Where in Scripture does it show an infant being baptized?" (Bajis J. Infant Baptism. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. http://www.goarch.org/en/our faith/articles/article7067.asp 8/21/05).

It should be clearly stated that there is not one verse in the Bible that says that any infants were baptized or are to be baptized. It should also be understood that since the fourth century Archbishop of Constantinople Gregory Nazianzen advised against infant baptism unless there were life threatening issues, that obviously automatic infant baptism was not a practice of the Eastern Orthodox.

Furthermore, notice more about what the Catholic Church itself teaches that 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. Their task is a truly 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 does not 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.

Here is something from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

Baptism of infants

Infant baptism has, however, been the subject of much dispute. The Waldenses and Cathari and later the Anabaptists, rejected the doctrine that infants are capable of receiving valid baptism, and some sectarians at the present day hold the same opinion. The Catholic Church, however, maintains absolutely that the law of Christ applies as well to infants as to adults.

When the Redeemer declares (John 3) that it is necessary to be born again of water and the Holy Ghost in order to enter the Kingdom of God, His words may be justly understood to mean that He includes all who are capable of having a right to this kingdom. Now, He has asserted such a right even for those who are not adults, when He says (Matthew 19:14): "Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such." It has been objected that this latter text does not refer to infants, inasmuch as Christ says "to come to me". In the parallel passage in St. Luke (18:15), however, the text reads: "And they brought unto him also infants, that he might touch them"; and then follow the words cited from St. Matthew.(Fanning, W. Baptism. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. Retrieved October 6, 2015 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02258b.htm)

Some of those who are referred to as Waldenses, Cathari, and even Anabaptists were part of the Church of God. Thus, the Church of God has long come out against this non-biblical practice. For information on the history of the Christian church, check out the free online booklet Continuing History of the Church of God.

Interestingly, Irenaeus says that the Valentinians had heretical views regarding baptism:

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).

The Catholic and Orthodox saint Irenaeus condemned the oil and water mixture on the head as a heresy. Yet is this not close to what is done today within Roman Catholicism, as well as other groups, that practice infant baptism?

It should be noted that the Church of God leader, Polycarp of Smyra, denounced Valentinus, while he was tolerated for decades by the Church of Rome (see Valentinus: The Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic).

Notice something else from The Catholic Encyclopedia (bolding mine):

The tradition of Christian antiquity as to the necessity of infant baptism is clear from the very beginning. We have given many striking quotations on this subject already, in dealing with the necessity of baptism. A few, therefore, will suffice here.

Yet, this claim from 'antiquity' is very misleading. Origen, who the Church of Rome condemned in the sixth century, did not write until the late second/early third century. He cites no source, but claims a tradition not found in the Bible nor in the writings before him.

It is clear from the beginning that the Bible never records that the Apostles baptized infants--infant baptism is not stated in the Bible. Oh yes, some have made assumptions and claims, but the Bible and early church writings do not support it.

In the 20th century Franciscan Jean Briand reported:

Authors of old only described adult baptisms. (Briand J. The Judeo-Christian Church of Nazareth. Translated from the French by Mildred Duell. 1st edition, Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1982, p. 54)

After reviewing documents and other evidence, Catholic scholar and priest Bagatti correctly concluded that Judeo-Christians did not baptize infants, “following the example of the Lord” (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi, 13 Maii 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 14 Junii 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, p. 239).

Infant Baptism is Simply a Tradition of Men Without A Solid Biblical Foundation

Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist when He was about 30 years of age:

21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased."

23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, (Luke 3:21-23).

Jesus never taught infant baptism, but was our example in how He lived (John 13:15; 1 Peter 2:21; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1).

Notice what the Apostle Peter taught:

38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39)

Infants cannot repent nor can they accept Jesus. Notice also the following:

34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?" 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.

36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" 37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. (Acts 8:34-38)

Infants cannot believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Hence, they are not eligible for baptism.

Some claim that because the New Testament records that some households were baptized that this proves that infants were also baptized. But this is reading something into the Bible that is not there. Let's look at the first example of this in the Book of Acts:

1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. (Acts 10:1-2)

13 And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, 'Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 14 who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.' 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?" (Acts 11:13-17)

Thus, since the household was also fearing God, and infants obviously cannot do that, the term household should not be concluded as proof that infants were baptized. Using passages like Acts 11 is not a solid foundation; and few would insist that infants started speaking then. Furthermore, if that was the case then early Christians would have accepted infant baptism and there would not have been controversies associated with it. Thus, early Christians did not understand that the baptism of households in the New Testament authorized infant baptism.

If infant baptism was a a New Testament need or practice, why, then, does the Bible nowhere command us to baptize children? While circumcision was required for infant boys in the Old Testament (Genesis 17:12), there is no similar requirement for the baptism of infants in the New Testament. In those days infant mortality rates were high, one would expect Scripture to mandate infant baptism if it was essential to a child's salvation.

To the contrary, there is not a single clear example of a child being baptized in the New Testament

There are many admitted traditions that the Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and others follow, including infant baptism. But one amazing one is a false conclusion about Polycarp of Smyrna (a church leader in the second century). Notice the following false tradition that supposedly proves infant baptism (I have read similar claims from other Catholic writers).  Note: Any bolding is in the source:

St. Polycarp, who was the disciple of the Apostle John himself (as well as an associate of the Apostle Philip). And, in AD 155, St. Polycarp said this at his execution:

"Polycarp declared, 'Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me injury. How can I blaspheme my King and Savior?" (Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp 9 c. AD 156)

Now, it is well documented that "The Martyrdom of Polycarp" was written the year after the saint's execution; and so the quote above is extremely reliable. It is also well documented that Polycarp was 86 years old at the time of his death. Therefore, if the saint claims to have served Jesus for 86 years, it therefore follows that he was Baptized as an infant. And, in another place, we are told that Polycarp was Baptized by none other than the Apostle John! :-) Therefore, at least in the case of St. John, we can show conclusively that the Apostles Baptized infants (Bonocore MJ. Infant Baptism.  Apolonio’s Catholic Apologetics. http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a26.htm viewed 10/06/08).

Polycarp stated at his martyrdom (167/8 A.D.) that he had been in the "service of Christ" for eighty-six years. Other recorded dates from Polycarp's life make it likely that eighty-six years was his age from birth. Joachim Jeremias, in The Origins of Infant Baptism, concludes the following from these facts: "This shows at any rate that his parents were already Christians, or at least were converted quite soon after his birth. If his parents were pagans at his birth, he would have been baptized with the 'house' at their conversion. But even if his parents were Christians, the words 'service of Christ for eighty-six years' support a baptism soon after his birth rather than one as a child of 'mature years'...for which there is no evidence at all." (Bajis J. Infant Baptism. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7067 viewed 07/04/15)

Now while the above may sound plausible, the truth is that Polycarp never claimed to have been baptized as an infant. Nor did he claim he was 86 years old when he died. An ancient manuscript called the Harris Fragments shows the following with one addition from me in {}:

Polycarp...He was… {an} old man, being one hundred and f[our] of age.  He continued to walk [i]n the canons which he had learned from his youth from John the a[p]ostle.(Weidman, Frederick W.  Polycarp and John: The Harris Fragments and Their Challenge to Literary Traditions.  University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame (IL), 1999, pp. 43,44).

So, if Polycarp lived to be 104, then he was baptized at age 18, and thus was not baptized as an infant (more on Polycarp's age can be found in the article Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter).  Hence, the Harris Fragments are one other way to help disprove mythological traditions that are simply not biblical. No early true Christian advocated, nor practiced, infant baptism.

Polycarp had to have been older than 86 when he died to have possibly been appointed a bishop by any of the original apostles, especially if this happened when Polycarp was around age forty. Notice what Coptic Orthodox Bishop Youssef has claimed:

Polycarp...Appointed to be Bishop of the See of Smyrna by the Apostles themselves, at the age of 40, he provides us with an important link in our long historical chain of Orthodox tradition clasping together the Apostles and the Second Century Church. (Youssef HG, Bishop. St. Polycarp the Blessed Peacemaker. Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States. http://suscopts.org/resources/literature/174/st-polycarp-the-beloved-peacemaker/ viewed 12/01/2012.)

Perhaps it may be of interest to mention that in 1821, “Cler. Gloc.” wrote that Polycarp was placed in charge of the “See of Smyrna” for around seventy years, that he calculated that Polycarp probably lived around 100 years based upon other historical records, and that the idea Polycarp died at age 86 was a “misconception”(Gloc. C. Letter to the Remembrancer, August 1821. As shown in Scott W. Garden F. Mozely JB. The Christian remembrancer. Printed for F.C. & J. Rivington, 1821. Original from the New York Public Library, Digitized Nov 21, 2007, p. 454).

Notice also the following from chapter V of Alexsander Hislop's book Two Babylons:

It is in consequence of, and solemnly to declare, that "holiness," with all the responsibilities attaching to it, that they are baptised. That "holiness," however, is very different from the "holiness" of the new nature; and although the very fact of baptism, if Scripturally viewed and duly improved, is, in the hand of the good Spirit of God, an important means of making that "holiness" a glorious reality, in the highest sense of the term, yet it does not in all cases necessarily secure their spiritual regeneration. God may, or may not, as He sees fit, give the new heart, before, or at, or after baptism; but manifest it is, that thousands who have been duly baptised are still unregenerate, are still in precisely the same position as Simon Magus, who, after being canonically baptised by Philip, was declared to be "in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity" (Acts 7:23). The doctrine of Rome, however, is, that all who are canonically baptised, however ignorant, however immoral, if they only give implicit faith to the Church, and surrender their consciences to the priests, are as much regenerated as ever they can be, and that children coming from the waters of baptism are entirely purged from the stain of original sin. Hence we find the Jesuit missionaries in India boasting of making converts by thousands, by the mere fact of baptising them, without the least previous instruction, in the most complete ignorance of the truths of Christianity, on their mere profession of submission to Rome.

This doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration also is essentially Babylonian. Some may perhaps stumble at the idea of regeneration at all having been known in the Pagan world; but if they only go to India, they will find at this day, the bigoted Hindoos, who have never opened their ears to Christian instruction, as familiar with the term and the idea as ourselves. ...

even in the Far West, Chalchivitlycue, the Mexican "goddess of the waters," and "mother" of all the regenerate, was represented as purging the new-born infant from original sin, and "bringing it anew into the world."

So, even the doctrine of "original sin" came from paganism. But it is used to encourage the non-biblical doctrine of infant baptism.

Protestant Reformers

Some of the most important Protestant reformers embraced infant baptism and condemned those who opposed it.

Martin Luther taught:

"Why are babies to be baptized? A. Babies are to baptized because they are included in the words ‘all nations’ (Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation. Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1986, p.202).

Martin Luther also got these statements confirmed:

Article IX: Of Baptism. Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God's grace. They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children (The Confession of Faith: Which Was Submitted to His Imperial Majesty Charles V. At the Diet of Augsburg in the Year 1530. by Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560. Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau. Published in: Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, pp. 37-95.)

Thus Martin Luther not only encouraged infant baptism, his supporters condemned those who opposed infant baptism.

Nor was he the only one. Sadly, notice the following:

John Calvin wrote, “We see that the practice which we have of baptizing little children is impugned and assailed by some malignant spirits, as if it had not been appointed by God, but newly invented by men, or at least some years after the days of the Apostles” (Calvin J. Works, Volume 51. Calvin Translation Society, 1846, p. 351)

Calvin stands opposed to those who would have children barred from baptism because of their age.

Calvin also anticipates the objection, "how are infants, unendowed with knowledge of good or evil, regenerated?"(Inst.4, 16, 17). Calvin's reply is that "God's work, though beyond our understanding, is still not annulled"(Inst.4, 16, 17). (John Calvin: MacPhail B. Infant Baptismhttps://www.reformedtheology.ca/baptism.html accessed 10/20/19)

Calvin, who could smile with complacency over the tortures of those who refused to be governed by his own opinions; and Zuinglius, who, when questioned regarding the fate of certain Anabaptists, replied, 

"Drown the Dippers" (Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, p. 106).

Yet, the Bible shows that those who received baptism from John the Baptist had to be "re-baptized" (Acts 19:3-5) and that those baptized needed to repent--that is something that infants simply cannot do.

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--and sanctified.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. (1 Corinthians 7:14).

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)

The laying on of hands sanctifies, sets apart the children (see also Laying on of Hands).

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.

The Apostle John was inspired to write:

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:6)

Jesus BLESSED little children--He DID NOT baptise them. We in the Continuing Church of God have followed Jesus' example.

We in the Church of God normally have this blessing of little children ceremony during one of God's festivals as that is when children will often be gathered together in one place--but the ceremony is not restricted to then.

But this is a practice we get from following Jesus' example and not one involving non-biblical and pagan practices, like those associated with infant baptism.

A related video is available: Infant Baptism Scripture and History.

More on baptism can be found in the articles Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church and All About Water Baptism.

Thiel B. Blessing of Little Children or Infant Baptism? COGwriter (c) 2015 http://www.cogwriter.com/blessing-little-children-baptism.htm 2015 2017 2019 2020 0422

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