An Argument for the Practice of Infant Baptism from the New Testament in General
1. The New Testament (NT) is the infallible interpreter of the Old Testament (OT).
2. The NT says God preached the gospel to Abraham and that he believed and was justified by faith just like us. (Gal. 3:6-9, Rom. 4)
3. The NT says that circumcision in the OT was a sign & seal of justification by faith (Rom. 4:11.)
4. In the New Testament, baptism is the sign and seal of justification by faith (Gal. 3:26-27, Acts 8:12-13)
5. The New Testament equates baptism and circumcision (Col. 2:11-12) and their meanings are parallel in many other ways (i.e. both mark out God’s people from the world, both mean to be spiritually clean, etc.).
6. In the OT, God’s promises were made not only to the believer but also to their children (Acts 7:5) and the sign of justification by faith was given not only to the believer but to his children (Acts 7:8).
7. In the NT God makes Gospel promises to believers AND their children (Acts 2:39)
8. It would seem reasonable to think that the NT would then continue with the next step in the pattern established above: the NT sign of justification by faith, baptism, would be given to believers’ children. While there is not a direct command to do so nor an unambiguous example of this practice, there are the following:
A. Household baptisms. (Acts 16:15, 16:33-34, I Cor. 1:16) Where would this practice come from if not from the OT model that began with Abraham and Isaac and continued throughout Israel’s history.
B. Children of believers having a special status before God (I Cor. 7:14). They are not just like the children of unbelievers. Wouldn’t there be a sign that set them apart in this status as in the OT?
C. Jesus welcomed and blessed children, including infants, and exalted them as an example of how to receive salvation. (Luke 18:15-17, Matt. 18:1-4). Would not the practice of infant baptism be a visual picture of Jesus’ teaching on this point? God pours out his salvation on the humble and helpless, pursuing them when they are not seeking him.
9. Given the Biblical and cultural logic outlined above which naturally would have entered the minds of the first NT believers who were all Jews, wouldn’t God have given a command against infant baptism if he wanted that pattern to be altered? Yet no such command exists in the NT.
An Argument for Infant Baptism from Acts 7:2-8 and Acts 2:38-39 Compared
In both passages God made a promise (in both passages the same word for promises is used):
In Acts 7:5 the promise of land is given to Abraham
In Acts 2:38-39 the promises of forgiveness of sins and of the gift of the Holy Spirit are given to the hearers of Peter’s sermon.
In both passages the hearers are called to respond to the promise:
Acts 7:3, leave your country
Acts 2:38, repent
In both passages an outward sign of the promise is given:
Acts 7:8, circumcision
Acts 2:38, baptism
In both passages the promise is given to the children of the hearers:
Acts 7:5, the descendants of Abraham
Acts 2:39, the children of the hearers of Peter’s sermon
In Acts 7, the sign of the promise is given to the believer’s child: 7:8, Isaac
Wouldn’t the same pattern be expected for the children in Acts 2? They would have received the sign of the promise just like Abraham’s child did. They would have been baptized. Wouldn’t that explain the household baptisms in Acts?