The question about infant baptism often arises in the minds of parents of newborns. Should parents support and allow their child to be baptized as an infant? To help answer this question it is important to understand the purpose of baptism.
When we review the gospels we are commanded to “go forth and make disciples.” According to the book of Mathew Chapter 28 verses 19 and 20, the Bible tells us to “…baptize in the name of the father, son, and holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things commanded to you.” This scripture helps us to understand that we as Christians are suppose to be baptized when we learn about Christ and his commandments. Take a moment and turn to Acts and review chapter 8 verse 12. Note that this verse discusses a congregation that listened to Philip declaring the good news of God’s kingdom, and when they believed his teachings then they proceeded to get baptized both men and women.
Both of these verses discuss baptism after learning about God’s word and believing and applying it a person’s life. Infants do not yet have the cognitive ability to learn and apply God’s word at this early stage in life. An infant is not yet capable of making a personal dedication to God and therefore should not be baptized.
Baptism is a public declaration of someone showing that they have decided to dedicate their life to God. This has to be done after a person has gained the understanding of God’s word and can apply it to his/her life. The individual contemplating baptism needs to understand and put faith in what they have learned. The book of First Timothy chapter 2 verse 4 tells us that a person will be saved after taking in the knowledge of God’s word. Only an adult or a mature older child can reason on God’s word and apply them to his/her life. We know as faithful Christians that the Devil will try to stop us from serving the All Mighty. Being baptized as an infant doesn’t show that we understand God’s word and can apply his knowledge to make sound Christian decisions when Satan attacks. An infant can not understand what this type of dedication will entail and therefore should not be baptized.
Baptism is a personal choice that should only be done after someone has dedicated his/her life to God. It is not a decision that should be made lightly. And it is certainly not a decision that should be made by someone else, such as the parent of an infant child.