Excerpt: The object of Baptism is “all nations”; this includes infants.
"…six arguments that are raised against infant Baptism and our examination of them in the light of God’s Word.
1.There is no passage of Scripture that tells us to baptize infants.
This argument ignores the clear fact that Christ has told us to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” (Mt 28:19). Since infants are part of all nations, there should be a specific passage of the Bible that tells us to exclude infants if they, in fact, are to be excluded from Christ’s command and promise. Jesus tells us that it is his desire that we bring little children to him (Mk 10:13–16). Therefore, we baptize infants because they are included in Christ’s command, and it is the Savior’s wish that we bring our children to him in obedience to his command and trusting in his promises.
2.Infants are not sinful and therefore do not need baptism.
This argument listens to the voice of reason and ignores the revelation of Scripture. Infants appear to be innocent. Yet they have original sin by nature. Original sin is a hereditary guilt and a hereditary corruption. The guilt of Adam is charged to an infant’s account as he enters the human race (Ro 5:12–19). God said to Adam that he would die in the day he disobeyed him (Ge 2:17). The penalty for Adam’s disobedience rests on us all as we come into this world. Original sin is also a hereditary corruption. By nature we lack the righteousness God demands and, instead, have a lust for sin. As Scripture observes, “Every inclination of his [mankind’s] heart is evil from childhood” (Ge 8:21). People by birth are sinful (Ps 51:5; Jn 3:5, 6), spiritually dead (Eph 2:1), blind (1 Co 2:14), and enemies of God (Ro 8:7). As Luther observed: “This inherited sin has caused such a deep, evil corruption of nature that reason does not comprehend it; rather, it must be believed on the basis of the revelation in the Scriptures” (SA III I:3).
Those who do not believe Scripture may think infants are innocent. The Word of God reveals, however, that they are sinful and in great need of new birth. Since Baptism is the means by which God gives us new birth (Ro 6:1–4; Tit 3:4–7), we should by all means bring our children to be baptized so that God may convert them and make them his children. Therefore, we baptize infants because they are sinful and do need the rebirth that God gives through Baptism.
3.Infants are not accountable for their actions until they reach the age of discretion or accountability.
There are those who feel that God will not hold infants or children responsible for their actions until they have reached a certain age at which they understand the gravity of what they are doing. At this age, so they believe, God will hold people accountable. This view disregards the teaching of Scripture that all people are under God’s judgment as they come into this world. Paul wrote, “We were by nature objects of wrath” (Eph 2:3). By our entrance into the human race, we became charged with the guilt of Adam’s sin. The penalty he earned by his disobedience applies to us as well, for we are born in his image, not in God’s image (Ge 5:1). Therefore, we baptize infants because they are by nature sinful and are under the wrath of God.
4.Baptism is not to be administered until a person can make a conscious decision to turn his life over to the lordship of Christ.
There are those who feel that Baptism is something we do simply because Christ said we should. They say that Baptism is simply an outward sign that we have consciously decided to turn our lives over to the lordship of Christ. To make that conscious decision, they say, one must have reached the age of discretion when he can consciously understand the implications of his action. Beyond being the outward sign of an inward decision, they say Baptism has no benefit. However, this ignores the need for a new birth already as an infant. This disregards that Baptism is the tool God uses to give a new life, forgiveness, and salvation. This also ignores the fact that only God can turn us to himself; we cannot turn ourselves to God. Therefore, we baptize infants that God might bring them to himself (Tit 3:5).
5.Infants cannot believe; therefore, they should not be baptized. This argument confuses faith and conscious knowledge.
Faith involves knowledge, but this knowledge is a knowledge of the heart, not just a knowledge of the head. Infants can believe. Saving faith is essentially trust and confidence in Jesus. Jesus said, “If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Mt 18:6). People who have lost their mental capabilities to mind-altering illnesses still can have faith. So can infants, whose hearts have been transformed by the Holy Spirit through Baptism. Reason cannot understand how this can be, but faith accepts the words and promises of God. As Luther observed:
Thus we do the same with infant Baptism. We bring the child with the intent and hope that it may believe, and we pray God to grant it faith. But we do not baptize on this basis, but solely on the command of God. Why? Because we know that God does not lie. My neighbor and I—in short, all people—may deceive and mislead, but God’s Word cannot deceive. (LC Fourth Part:57)
Therefore, we bring infants to be baptized, because we trust that through Baptism God will work faith in their hearts.
Here we must also note the parallel of circumcision in the Old Testament to Baptism in the New Testament (as Paul notes it in Col 2:11, 12). Circumcision was to be performed on all males on the eighth day. Baptism has taken the place of circumcision. There is no command to baptize on the eighth day, but the parallel between the circumcision of infants and the baptism of infants is clear.
6. There is no evidence of infant Baptism in the early church.
There is, however, evidence of infant Baptism. Whole households were baptized (1 Co 1:16; Ac 16:15, 33). There is mention of infant Baptism in the writings of the early church fathers. Irenaeus (d. 202)—who was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John—speaks of people of all ages, from infants up to the oldest, as reborn through Christ. Justin Martyr (d. 165) speaks about becoming disciples of Christ from childhood. Origen (d. 254) did very extensive research work and indicated that the custom to grant Baptism to children had been handed down to the church by the apostles. In 256 at a synod held in Carthage, the question was asked if Baptism might be administered before the eighth day. The synod answered that the grace of rebirth might not be legitimately withheld from anyone who had been born. Therefore, infant Baptism was practiced in the early church."
Holy Baptism according to Sacred Scripture. Baptism saves…by the washing of water with the word. The sacrament of Holy baptism (sacraments imparts divine grace). Jesus defined baptism as an integral part of making disciples and commanded his followers to baptize in connection with God’s action...