Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 13, 1952
NUMBER 44, PAGE 1,5b

Baptizing Babies

Franklin T. Puckett, Calico Rock, Arkansas

One false doctrine always seems to be productive of another. It may become the parent of a number of false teachings. When a person tells one falsehood, he probably will have to tell another, and then another, and another to explain or cover up the one he first told. So when one begins to teach one false doctrine, it calls for another and then another in order to justify the first one.

This is easily seen when we consider some of those early false doctrines that led to the original departure from the divine model of the church. Resting upon purely human authority, these false ideas progressed from falsehood to falsehood, from error to error. The doctrine of "salvation by faith only" is a prolific source of continuing false teaching. It has gained a tremendous hold on the hearts of people, and has embedded itself deeply into the very fabric of denominational teaching in every part of the world. Out of it has grown a whole family of falsehoods. It denies the necessity of obedience to the commandments of the Lord; it denies the necessity of belonging to the church of the living God; it has led to the ridiculing of the importance of the church; to an insistence that the church is non-essential. Surely that original falsehood of "salvation by faith only" has a great degree of responsibility for much of the present worldwide indifference which is manifested toward the church and teaching.

Another error that has produced a whole cluster of false teachings is the doctrine of "hereditary total depravity." This is one of the cardinal points of Calvinism. It is embedded in the creeds and confessions of faith of nearly every denomination on earth. And it has brought an unholy family of falsehoods in its trail. One of these is the false teaching concerning infant baptism.

Infant Baptism — Its Origin

Had it not been for the idea that children are born into the world depraved, under condemnation to ruin, in all probability the doctrine of infant baptism would never have been known. But recognizing that baptism is an essential commandment of the gospel, and that it is for (unto) the remission of sins, and then joining with that true teaching the false idea of inherited depravity, the conclusion was easily reached, indeed, inescapable, that infants should be baptized, else they would be lost.

Denominational churches generally have sought to soften and lessen the harsh impact of this doctrine. But Catholicism has retained it and emphasizes it clearly in her creeds and her instructions. So great stress do Catholics give the doctrine that they require almost unbelievable practices in the matter of childbirth to insure that the newborn babe shall be "baptized" if it is in danger of dying. Indeed, they even require that the corpse of a still born infant shall be "baptized," and require the same ritual to be administered to the fetus of a premature infant. Infants dying without baptism, say the Catholics, are destined for hell. And so great stress is laid on the matter of "baptizing" every infant that is born, be he stillborn, premature, or in any condition whatsoever. Talk of "water salvation," this is it in its most incredible form!

Yet this is the very foundation on which Protestant denominations have built their present practice of baptizing babies. They have borrowed it from Rome, rather than receiving it from the Bible. It is a relic of the weird superstitions of the Middle Ages. There is not one word of divine authority for it. It originated in falsehood, and is done without a shadow of approval from the word of God. Protestant denominations and Catholics are alike acting on human authority and not on divine in such behavior.

Bible Baptism

The baptism commanded in the New Testament is for believers, penitent believers, and it is for (unto), or in order to, the remission of past or alien sins. The remission of past or alien sins brings us into Christ, where those sins have been propitiated or blotted out. But, as we know from the scriptures, infants are not born into this world totally depraved; they do not have the taint of sin clinging to them, but on the contrary are pure and holy. Therefore, no baby needs to be baptized; no baby can meet the scriptural requirements for baptism. And there is not one single case on record of a baby being baptized in all the divine history. Such a story is not found in God's book from beginning to end.

Advocates of infant baptism try to justify their false teaching by an appeal to the "household baptisms" of the New Testament. There are only four cases of so-called "household baptism" mentioned in the scriptures. One of these is the household of Cornelius. But there could not have been infants in this group, for the Bible says of them all that "They spake with tongues and glorified God." (Acts 10:46) Furthermore, it is stated of this same incident and of these same people that God "purified their hearts by faith." (Acts 15:9) Now, since infants cannot have "faith," there were no infants in Cornelius' household. This truth is irrefutable.

Another instance of household baptism appealed to is the house of Stephanas, mentioned in 1 Corinthians. But in the same book, Paul declares that the house of Stephanas had "set themselves to minister unto the saints." (1 Cor. 16:15) Such would be an impossible task for infants. They could neither "minister," nor could they "set themselves" to minister. Any attempt, therefore, to justify infant baptism because of the baptism of the "household" of Stephanas is absolutely without point or power.

The final household baptism appealed to is that of "Lydia and her household." But consider the assumptions involved here. First of all, it must be assumed that Lydia was married. There isn't the slightest hint in scripture that she was. Secondly, it must be assumed that Lydia had children. There is no suggestion in scripture of anything of the sort. I know of many "households" in which there are no children at all. Third, it must be assumed that her children, or some of them, were still babies. All of us know of numerous "households" in which there are a number of children, but all of them grown. And so the case of "Lydia and her household" collapses before it even gets started. The Bible simply does not teach infant baptism. The whole false idea grew out of the equally false teaching of "inherited total depravity."