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In this essay I briefly present my reasons for believing that baptism is intended only for people who are old enough to responsibly choose to become disciples of Jesus. I will first offer several biblical arguments, then offer a supporting argument and conclude by responding to several objects to believer’s baptism.
Baptism - Discipleship - Conviction - Baptism - Rite
Baptism and Discipleship. It’s my conviction that baptism was originally intended as the initiating rite into the New Covenant and the Kingdom community and thus was intended only for people who are old enough to make a responsible decision to submit their life to Christ. While there is precedent in the New Testament for dedicating young children to the Lord, I don’t see any precedent for baptizing them.
In contrast to the Old Testament in which God entered into a covenant with an entire nation, in the New Testament God’s covenant is with all believers. The class of those who are in covenant with God changed from a national class (the Jews) to a class of people who personally decide something (believers). Consequently, it made sense in the Old Testament to give the sign of the covenant (circumcision) to infants, since they were part of the nation God was covenanting with. It makes no sense in the New Testament to do this, however, for God’s covenant is with believers, and infants can’t believe.
Ministry - John - Baptist - Jesus - New
The Ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus. Throughout the New Testament salvation is offered, and baptism is commanded, only to people who can meet the condition of repenting, believing and obeying Jesus Christ. We see this even in the ministry of John the Baptist who was preparing the way for Jesus Christ. Mark writes:
The ones who were baptized, we see, were the ones who were confessing their sins. Infants, of course, can not do this. Hence...
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