baby being baptized with water

A Simple Defense of Infant Baptism

Among non-Catholic Christians infant baptism can range from being a puzzling practice to being downright heretical.

Here we discuss why infant baptism is a good thing and why the Catholic Church does it.

Rules for Baptism in the Bible

The Bible contains many “rules and regulations” concerning baptism.

All of these “rules and regulations” in the Bible regarding baptism are for adults since that in the entire Bible the people that are speaking and interacting are an adult, or they are people that are old enough to have a comprehension level of an adult. To better rephrase the latter part of the last statement; all of the Biblical figures, which are adults, are of the age of reason; they are able to discern what is right and what is wrong.

Not only are these people old enough to have an adult comprehension level and be of the age of reason, but also they are old enough to have been able to sin against God several times throughout their lives.

Since they are of the age of reason they are somewhat able to at least recognize that they have sinned. Therefore, when called, it will be necessary for each person to examine their conscience and repent; and then be baptized when Jesus and His disciples call them to convert to Christianity. Not only were they to repent and be baptized, but they also had to convert for the Messiah had come!

The Bible does not contain anything against the baptism of infants.

Since these “rules and regulations” are written for adults that are recorded from adults’ interactions with Jesus and the Apostles in the New Testament they cannot apply in exactly the same way the same to infants who live under different circumstances.

Infants and Original Sin

Infants are new to the world and the only sin they have against them is the Original Sin. An infant is not old enough to be able to sin against God for they have not even come close to the age of reason. In order to read the Scriptures one must have some sort of adult comprehension and reading level to obtain a basic understanding.

Now, someone might come back with the argument that infants also are not old enough, or of the age of reason, to have faith in Jesus Christ. In light of that argument one should keep in mind two key points: one must have a comprehension like that of the people of the New Testament to fall under the same criteria for Biblical adult baptism and that Jesus was sent by the Father so that anyone who obeys Him and does the will of the Father will be saved (Cf. John 3:16-18, John 6:40).

Anyone includes all people. It means that the Kingdom of God is open to all people who meet the above stated criteria, which includes infants for they are people just as we are people and one’s grandparents are people.

Since the Kingdom of God is open to anyone who seeks and believes in Christ and since baptism is a necessity for entrance into the Kingdom (Cf. John 3:5) and since infants do not have the same comprehension level as adults nor have they reached the age of reason then the provisions for infant baptism must be different than the ones for adult conversion and baptism.

However, this does not mean that infants do not get the same effects as an adult baptism because it is still the act of baptism.

The Bible tells us in John 21:25 that there are many things that Jesus did, but are not contained in the Scriptures. Recall that in order to read the Scriptures one must have some sort of adult comprehension level (Cf. Paragraph 2).

Infant Baptism was Passed Down

Ponder the following question: why would the Scriptures instruct someone how to be baptized as an infant if they had already passed that stage of their life? Second Thessalonians 2:15 says, “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, EITHER by word of mouth [oral statement] OR by letter [letter of ours],” emphasis added.

This verse also shows that there are some things that are not written and that things handed down (i.e. tradition) are just as good as those that are written.

Infant baptism is one of the traditions that was handed down but not recorded in the Scriptures.

Jesus handed it down to His disciples as one of the unwritten events (Cf. John 21:25) for the disciples to practice and hand on to their successors. It was passed down as a tradition carried out by the disciples as instructions on how to baptize infants.

Infant baptism is a tradition and practice of the early Church that is just as valid then, now, and will be forever.

More on Catholic Baptism

If you want to learn more about Catholic Baptism, check out our posts on a Guide to Catholic Baptism, Why infant Baptism, and Where do Unbaptized Babies Go?

35 thoughts on “A Simple Defense of Infant Baptism”

  1. Do you really think, “God” wants us to argue over water?
    The creator of the Universe and all that is seen and unseen?
    So silly! You people make me laugh.

  2. Luke 16:15-17: “And they brought unto him also infants, that he might touch them. Which when the disciples saw, they rebuked them. But Jesus, calling them together, said: Suffer children to come to me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Amen, I say to you: Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a child, shall not enter into it.”

    Our Lord’s words often admit of more than one sense. In this case, if we who are of the age of reason, but not yet baptized, do not receive the kingdom with the simplicity of faith as a child, we shall not enter it. And of course, there are those who are indeed children, and if, even as children, they do not *receive* the kindgom (one can only receive something if one yet does not possess it), then they shall not enter it.

    John 3:5: “Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

  3. To be baptized is a choice each must make of their own volition, which is part of why we have free will in the first place. Christ said of children “their angels always behold the face of God. But I was not sent for such as these, I was sent for sinners.” Christ said that a child should be named, and blessed eight days after birth, sprinkled with pure water, and their parents enjoined to raise them in righteousness. At the age of seven, “when they begin to know right from wrong and learn to choose the right”, they should be blessed again, and enjoined to follow righteousness. At the age of fourteen, when they have chosen what trade they will be apprenticed in, they can speak to the presbyter about baptism.

    1. Gary Westgerdes

      Some within Christendom have taken the Jewish example of circumcision and replaced it with baptism. Faith in Christ is necessary for salvation baptism is not, baptism is the public proclamation that the individual has given his or her life in service to Christ, something infants and babies cannot do and children cannot do until they reach the age of reason. For me it was age seven.

  4. some body should sto post nonsense here infant baptism is no good is not biblical that is not the footstep of jesus, what jesus did is what we goin to follow adult baptism is what jesus introduce and bible also and heaven is real dnt mis it with infant because is posible that some one will miss heaven with infant baptism baptism hmmm?

  5. Hi guys,

    Just needed to make note of something here, I wonder when the scriptures says that ” whole households” were baptised what does that mean for us today? I’m wondering if households meant that only adults lived in these homes….hmmmm…..

    that’s why we all need to value the approach of the Catholic church, to simply ignore this….is to speak fully about your ignorance and arrogance where the things of God are concerned.
    it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole “households” received baptism, infants may also have been baptized,” (Acts 16:15,33; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16).

    1. Gary Westgerdes

      That is the problem, people try to use human reason to make eternal decisions and that is very dangerous. Indeed there are households out there that do not have babies. Just like when Jesus preached to His followers in parables so that the false believers would fall away, twist His words and disbelieve.
      Catholics will do anything to make something fit their narrative. And to make sure it works they call people names and sound angry. They live in constant fear that their Religion could indeed be false and they can do nothing to prove it otherwise, they can only go by what the Catholic Church keeps telling them and hope until the end that it is true. Jesus said “Come unto me and I will give you rest.” I’m resting from the burden of religious rules put on me by men and from the guilt of my sin taken away by God’s unmerited grace by faith. Read Revelation 1:4 & 5:9 There is indeed power in Christ Jesus blood.

  6. I have to agree with the first commentors on this one, Darin belive was their the cathol8c church is not satisfied with scripture alone they have twisted it added to it and dine exactly what Jesus accessed the pharisees of doing ” why do you nullify my commandments for the sake of your traditiins” . To answer the most recent commentors question about at which age do other denominations baptize? Well as far as reformed baptist goes we wait until a person can show a true repentance to sin and a full understanding of God’s grace in their life. Why you may ask? Well because in most if not all of the n.t. references where baptism takes place the words repent predicted the words baptism further an infant born with “origional sin” is still under the same consequences of an adult whom consciously sin ” for the wages of sin is death” that includes all sin even the ones we are born into ? On top of that God knew who he was going to call according to his purposes and save through his grace before any of is existed so why does the catholic church ( and other denominations who practice infant baptism) insist on playing God and automatically assuming that everyone is called according to God’s almighty plan on top of all that as anot her pointed out the Greek words used in reference baptism in the N.T. are those which mean submersion, NOT SRINKLING, in fact for the first 1000 plus years of the church’s existence sprinkling wasn’t even a accepted form of baptism ( with the exception of maybe medically and physically nessacary cases) so again how does one biblically baptize ( through submirsion which the Greek text uses, never sprinkling) an infant? Answer they don’t biblically baptize infants nor was any infant baptized during Jesus time. If infants where being baptized by the biblical definition of baptism and what it meant it would probably have been resulting in outrage among infants parents and I daresay it would be cruel to induce an infant to such a practice. So there you have it INFANT BAPTISM DEBUNKED BOTH BIBLICALLYOU AND PHYSICALLY.It’s just another twisted tradition that the cathol8c church added onto the bible, not to mention they added it after the bible was published. So I’m gonna ask the author of this page to stop trying to support infant baptism by scripture if you want to admit that it is simply a made up Catholic tradition fine but it is not biblically based and it is not even origional church based.

    1. Catholics must find out why these things were handed down traditionally. Our ancestors did these things. Scriptually it is not crystal clear. So in an attempt to find truth one must search. A child already belongs to the kingdom, the kingdom is for them but adults(baptized as an infant or not) are sinful and must be brought to accepting Gods sanctifying grace through acceptance of Jesus Christ. Giving baptism to a child is a gift and very much a desired blessing by God to give. If parents give the gift of their faith to the child then the children have such a gift and protection over their lives by God. If the child later denounces their faith and do not choose to continue on in the baptism of the Holy Spirit at confirmation it is their choice to do so. Sprinkling is also not done in initial baptisms only emersion. Sprinkling is done often during Mass as a symbolic gesture when the community together verbally and consciencely renew their original baptismal promises

      1. Also one must look at the results as to if something indeed is wrong. What negative results occur with infant baptism? Truly?

    2. By what authority do you say such things? You have debunked absolutely nothing. How is it that you can be so confident in your dismissal of a Church teaching that existed for 1500 years before you and your kind decided it “wasn’t Biblical. BY WHAT AUTHORITY??

  7. Are you serious? You are actually going to include teachings on infant baptism in a verse like John 21:25, as if you know what Jesus taught behind the scenes. This is exactly what the Mormons say John Smith is revealing: the “secret” teachings of Jesus. I guess we can plug just about anything in there. I have heard several bad ways of using the scripture to justify infant baptism, but that is the worst so far. There is no scriptural description of infant baptism or the need for infants to be baptized, period. The best argument for infant baptism is in history, but please stop warping the scriptures to make it possible for what you think to be found there. I never leave comments on discussion boards, but that reference to John 21:25 was inexcusable. Please remove.

      1. You are correct, but, to remain consistent, it must be stated that it does not have to be in the Bible in order to be part of the teachings of Christ.

    1. And who are you to say otherwise? 1500 years worth of Tradition us a good place for YOU to start. Who said it had to be in the Bible? Oh, the Bible? Don’t think so. No, not once. And the reason for no concise language against or for it is that it was common practice and without a need for it be supported or condemned, it was not addressed by the Church. Had there been divisiveness (as with the many, many other heresies, many of which you probably also ascribe) you would have seen it addressed. Instead, you and your Puritans originated a strong dislike for all things Catholic in the early 1800’s and came up with any means possible to avoid appearing like the Catholics. Therein lies YOUR division. You can’t agree on what time it us, much less Doctrine.

  8. What about forced baptism; i.e. forced conversion that the Catholic Church practiced over many centuries?

    1. And who are you to say otherwise? 1500 years worth of Tradition us a good place for YOU to start. Who said it had to be in the Bible? Oh, the Bible? Don’t think so. No, not once. And the reason for no concise language against or for it is that it was common practice and without a need for it be supported or condemned, it was not addressed by the Church. Had there been divisiveness (as with the many, many other heresies, many of which you probably also ascribe) you would have seen it addressed. Instead, you and your Puritans originated a strong dislike for all things Catholic in the early 1800’s and came up with any means possible to avoid appearing like the Catholics. Therein lies YOUR division. You can’t agree on what time it us, much less Doctrine.

  9. I have a grand daughter 5 weeks old today, my children were born baptized, and made their first holy communion. They did not make their confirmation. My oldest son recently became a father, and went to the church because he wanted his daughter to be baptized. He was denied, because he had not made his confirmation and he was not a member of a parish for more than 6 months.
    I am confused. The sacrament of Baptism and Last rights are undeniable. The catholic church is refusing my grand daughter baptism because her parents have not made their confirmation, however they will marry the parents in the church no question, When I said I would
    act as godparent, I was denied because I am divorced. I never married after my x-husband left me for another woman, I taught Sunday School for 8 years and taught adult confirmation classes for 2 years after that. I am disappointed in the Catholic Church to say the least. My grand-daughter should be allowed to be baptized for original sin is not hers.

    1. That makes no sense. My husband is not Catholic and both of our boys were baptized in the church. My niece was baptized and my sister in law is not Catholic and my brother never made confirmation either. I think you should speak to another parish priest or your bishop (of course, your post was six months ago so you probably got everything worked out by now). You are right, baptism is undeniable.

    2. Please when you say the Catholic church did this or that……be sure you have consulted another priest or parish and you are getting the same response before you conclude. Be matured and not generalise you view on catholic teaching.

  10. When I think of baptism, I think of being in a place of protection. When Moses , and later Joshua was baptized, they were surrounded by a wall of water on each side. Noah was in an ark, also surrounded by water.

  11. Bible says “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:16-18 (NRSV)

    How can a baby believes?
    will a baby confess or repent?

    one cannot give a baby for marriage, a baby cannot receive all sacraments of catholic church in the baby stage itself. so, how baptism for babies can be given?, if baptism can be given for a baby why can’t all sacraments cannot be given to baby stage itself?.

    “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 (NRSV)

    According to the above verse a child is already having the heart of child and innocent to sin. So, a child can enter kingdom of heaven that’s what the above verse says.

    When one feels the conscious about sin in life and decides to live in JESUS they will repent, believe, and receive baptism. when one feels that this level of age I feel as a mature man, he should voluntarily take baptism like all other sacraments but not as child without knowing anything.

    Recently one guy(20years) met a priest, who has given him baptism at his birth. He asked that priest like this, Did you asked my permission to give me baptism father?, that priest did not replied him.

    Reason, each one should willingly take it with genuine feel and love for holy life in Jesus and then, should take baptism.

    1. Thanks, APA, for your PERSONAL interpretation of Scripture and what we should all surmise from it. Too bad there is no authority from which it can gain ANY traction other than perhaps the “Church of APA”. Sign us all up until we disagree and then we can all splinter again.

  12. ‘he that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised’ if God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, then the same nature of God that wanted eight day olds to be circumcised would hv no problem with infant baptism. My 3month old daughter is getting bapt4sed this saturday.

    1. Brother, Jesus received both circumcision and Baptism. The fact is Joseph and Mary submitted Jesus for circumcision on eighth day according to law. But, Jesus himself went and took baptism at the age of 30 to be model for others.

      1 Corinthians 7:14, it says:
      “For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but now, they are holy.”

      Dear brother if you have taken baptism with self consciousness like Jesus as your model, its from the above verse that your Children will be sanctified and become Holy through you.

  13. Hi guys, its interesting to read how people understand salvation; i love to ask a question, if Jesus wanted only one church, why do we have so many in these days???? If Jesus death itself secures my salvation after my baptism what is the need to live a good life full of good actions as i have already been saved? Alex please read the whole bible, it will help you to understand the teaching of Jesus Christ, and stop arguing what catholics or protestants say, I am sure if we lived a good life full of good actions, forgivenes and love as Jesus told us to do, we would stop arguing about who is saved or not saved, or what catholics believe or not, we would be all children of God as God wanted us to be, Amen, To Him be Glory for ever

  14. Hi Jon,

    its fantastic how you can swist scripture or maybe you have just mis-read it entirely.

    I fail to understand how both the Greek & the KJV have John 3:16 laid out so differently to your interpriattion/ teachings?

    Nothing in either of them that mentions ” doing the fathers will whatsoever”.

    16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    This & this alone secures your Salvation … & if you want to get technical the Bible refers to emershion & not just a sprinkling on a child that has no concept of sin, God, Jesus or salvation.

    Why would you teach such a thing? Out of love I implore you to search your heart, you can know that you have a place in heaven. Please, please, please Jon … put aside everything you have been lead to beileve & ask the Lord & Him alone to guide you.


    1. Hi Alex. I have asked the Lord Jesus to guide me and that is why I am still a Catholic and is the reason I have created this website to spread the truth of Jesus Christ and the church he founded, the Catholic Church.

      It stands to reason that belief in Jesus necessitates acting in a certain way. That certain way is the way that God wants us to act, thus “doing the father’s will whatsoever” is the demonstration of this belief in Jesus saving power and great sacrifice for our sins. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Belief in Jesus is nothing without acting upon it.

    2. Alex,

      Just because Jesus died for our sins doesn’t mean we do absolutely nothing. As St Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ. ” We must become Holy as he is Holy. That is the first point. Second, the word baptism comes from the Greek word “Baptismo” which means to pour over water. The Old Testament spoke often about sprinkling water or blood. And, where was Paul baptized? In a house. Do you think there was enough water in the house to be immersed in water? The Apostles also baptized in homes. It is not even definitive that Jesus was dunked. The text reads, “he came up from the water, but this does not mean his head was under. When the Eunuch was to be baptized, he said, “look, there is water! ” He exclaimed as if surprised to see water. He didn’t say, “wow, look how deep the water is. That should be enough water to get me baptized! ” After all, do you really think that immersion was possible considering the lack of water? Even if it wasn’t Biblical (which it is), it would be more practical to sprinkle as to save as much water as possible. Baptism of only believers by immersion didn’t start until at least 1500 years after the birth of the church.

      1. Hi Friends,
        I would kindly want those who are opposed to the baptsim of the infant by the catholic faith to tell me three things; At what age do other faith begin baptism and where in the bible is that written and I dont under stand this business of an infant , how difference is the prayer for a dead infant from that of an adult at any burrial and that will be guided by John 21:25. or simply if an infant fell sick would their be a difference in the way they are prayed upon compared to the adult who is in a coma ? . if any human being has died dont we all say ;The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord. Amen.”. why cant we bapstise infant then ,why do we put catholics as if we dont understand the Holy spirit exists . Every faith without a tradition is not founded on a sincere ground and has no foundation . I therefore request other Christians to accept that catholic still remains the primary faith of chrsitianity and by no doubt everthing in their is inspired by the Holy spirit

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