Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 13, 1959

Why Baptize An Infant?

Jerry F. Bassett, Willits, California

Many religious denominations today engage in the practice of baptizing infants. In all sincerity and from a Bible point of view, I am at a loss to know why this is done. Having read through the Bible several times, I have never been able to find one command, example, or necessary inference to the effect that God ever expected anyone to baptize an infant. On the contrary, the purpose and the requirements of scriptural baptism argue strongly against the practice. Of course, to those who are not concerned about whether their practice is taught in the Bible or not, the thoughts set forth below will be insignificant. However, if what the Bible teaches does matter to you, then your attention is very kindly directed to the following considerations.

Purpose Of Baptism

Baptism is a command confined to the New Testament. The Old Testament contains the law of Moses which God gave to the Jews (Exodus 19:1-6), and which was fulfilled and terminated by Christ's death on the cross. (Luke 24:44-47, Col. 2:14.) Under the Old Testament law men never received remission of sins and could not until after Christ's sacrificial death. (Heb. 9:15, 22.) After Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, remission of sins was to be offered to all men in his name (Luke 24:47), and was to be received by "he that believeth and is baptized". (Mark 16:16.) Upon preaching the gospel of Christ for the first time to any people Peter made it clear that the purpose of baptism is "for the remission of sins". (Acts 2:38.)

What then is the sense in baptizing an infant? They are not sinners: in fact, children are in purity what men must become in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 18:1-3, 19:14.) Since babies have no sin, and since baptism is for the remission of sins, why baptize an infant?


Christ taught absolutely that faith must precede baptism. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16.) Peter restated this requirement to scriptural baptism (Acts 10:43,48) and the Ethiopian was hindered from being baptized until he confessed his faith in Christ. (Acts 8:35-39.)

An infant child is too immature to understand the gospel of Christ, much less exercise an obedient faith. Since faith is to precede baptism, why baptize an infant? If it is right to submit an unbelieving, unwilling child to baptism why would it not also be proper to gather by force all the unbelieving, unwilling town roustabouts and make "Christians" of them by forcing them to be baptized?


The New Testament indicates that the action of baptism is immersion. When Jesus was baptized he had to come up "out of the water". Matthew 3:16. The baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch required that both he and Philip go down into the water after which they came "up out of the water". Acts 8:38-39. Paul states in two separate epistles that baptism is a burial. Rom. 6:3-4, Col 2:11,12 Further, the original Greek word "baptizo" from which the word "baptize" is rendered means "to dip, plunge, immerse". To my knowledge, there is not one Greek scholar who ever affirmed that the literal definition of the original Greek meant anything other than a complete submersion.

These facts notwithstanding, most people, and all those who practice infant baptism, do not bury but only sprinkle or pour a little water over the candidate. But scriptural baptism is not sprinkling or pouring, it is immersion, and who would ever immerse an unsuspecting infant in water? The action of baptism forbids its administration to infants and indicates God never intended it to be done. So why baptize an infant?