Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 8, 1958

Foolish Preaching On Infant Baptism, No. II.

James E. Cooper, Campbellsville, Ky.

We want to continue with a consideration of some foolish preaching on the subject of infant baptism. Regardless of the fact that there is a lot of pious sentiment connected with the practice, we must label it "foolish preaching" because it contradicts the teachings of the word of God. There is not a word of divine authority for the practice, and those who engage in it go beyond the doctrine of Christ. (2 Jno. 9.) Since infant baptism is not once mentioned in the doctrine of Christ, those who practice it "hath not God."

Sometimes we hear individuals trying to justify it. I have a little tract by W. A. Swift of Monteagle, Tennessee, entitled, "Why Baptize by Pouring and Baptize Babies.." The tract can be purchased from "any branch of the Methodist Publishing House." On page 27, Mr. Swift argues that "Infant baptism came in the room of circumcision." This assumption is also found in the creedbooks and other writings of those denominations practicing infant baptism. Is this idea true?

In Gen. 17:10, we find that the males were to be circumcised, and verse 12 says that it was to be done on the eighth day. Why do those who argue that infant baptism came in the room of circumcision "baptize" girl babies? If baptism takes the place of circumcision, only boy babies would be baptized. So this argument is inconsistent on the start. Again, circumcision was a sign to the Jews. It separated them from other people. Baptism does not show a person to be a Jew or a Gentile. Therefore, it did not come in the room of circumcision. Baptism is for all nations, but circumcision was for the Jews. Still further, we notice that the apostles and the three thousand baptized on Pentecost had all been circumcised, being Jews. If baptism came in the room of circumcision, why receive both circumcision and baptism? It is ridiculous to claim that baptism came in the room of circumcision.

The major fallacy in this type of reasoning, if you can call it reasoning, is that those who make this argument do not rightly divide the word of God. They do not recognize the difference between the Old and New Testaments. Some seven or eight hundred years after the ordinance of circumcision was established, and the Law of Moses was given to the Jews, Jeremiah prophesied the establishment of a new covenant. (Jer. 31:31-34.) Jeremiah prophesied that God would establish a new covenant, and that new covenant would not be according to the covenant that he made with their fathers when he led them from Egypt. The New Covenant would not be like the first Covenant. Hence, baptism was not instituted in the New Covenant to be "according to" the covenant of circumcision. The prophecy of Jeremiah ought to convince any honest and thoughtful person that God promised to establish a new covenant. He did not promise to revamp the old covenant, but promised to establish a new one. In the eighth chapter of Hebrews we learn that Jeremiah's prophecy is fulfilled in the New Testament, or the new covenant that God established through Jesus Christ. Jesus didn't come to sew a new patch on an old garment, or to put new wine into an old bottle. The New Testament is utterly new, and is not a revamping of the old in any fashion.

The New Testament teaches that the Old Testament, or old covenant, was abolished at the death of Christ. (Eph. 2:14-15; Col. 2:14.) Hence, the New Testament teaches that the Old Covenant was abolished, taken out of the way, and nailed to the cross. Being completely done away, it left no room to be filled. Circumcision could not have given its place to baptism.

When an infant is "baptized" the word of God is misrepresented. At the rite of infant baptism the words of our Lord in Mark 10:14 are quoted, "Suffer the little children to come unto me; and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God." Preachers quote this passage to authorize their having children brought to them for "baptism." But this passage does not say "bring." It says, "Suffer the little children to come unto me." As Tertullian said, "Let them come, then, when they are growing up; let them come while they are learning; let them become Christians when they have become able to know Christ ... Let them know how to ask for salvation, that you may at least appear to have given to him that asketh." Tertullian knew, and you ought to be able to see, that the use of this statement by our Saviour is misrepresented when applied to the rite of infant baptism.

This is not the only misrepresentation. The scriptural teaching on the subject of baptism is likewise misrepresented. The usual practice is for these sectarian preachers to take the baby and say, "I baptize thee . . ." But he does not baptize. He either pours or sprinkles water on the face and head. He does not baptize the baby. He says he does, but he does not. Baptism is a burial. (Rom. 6:4.) Do you know what a burial is? Do you think an undertaker could get by with taking a corpse to the cemetery and sprinkle a few shovels of dirt over the casket and call it a burial? He would lose his license to operate an undertaking establishment. The Bible says that baptism is a burial, and to practice anything else is to fail to do what the Bible says do. To call it baptism when it is not baptism is to misrepresent baptism, and to handle truth very loosely.

Again, the practice of infant baptism misrepresents the Godhead. The sectarian preacher says that he baptizes the baby in "the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Yet, neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Ghost ever authorized anybody to baptize an infant in their names. If someone claimed to do something in your name when you never did give authority for it, you would consider him extremely dishonest. Is it no less dishonest when people practice the same deceit under the guise of religion? They claim to practice infant baptism by the authority of the Godhead, when they cannot find one single passage that tells that the Godhead authorized it.

Finally, the innocent infant is deceived. He grows up thinking he was "baptized" in infancy. When he hears the gospel of Christ, and that Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," he thinks he has already done what Jesus commands, and will go on through life deceived into thinking he has obeyed the Lord when he has not. Thus, men are bound in human denominations and deceived into thinking they are members of the body of Christ. They are told that they don't need to obey their Lord in baptism, for that was done for them before they were old enough to remember. And being deceived, they will not believe and obey the gospel.

The practice of infant baptism is a blight on the human race, and upon the intelligence of religious people. Be willing to practice in religion only what you have read in God's word. If you have been sprinkled in infancy, you need to obey the gospel of Christ.