15 May 2005
Acts 8:36, 1 Corinthians 7:14 & Ephesians 2:12
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 95. To whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to Him: but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptised.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.95. Who should be baptised?
A. Those who are not members of churches should not be baptised until they have publicly stated that they believe in Christ and will obey Him, but the infant children of church members should be baptised.
1. Is it Scriptural to administer baptism to all people?
No, only those who are members of the visible church, who are part of the covenant, are eligible.
2. How can infants be baptised, an infant who can not repent and believe and thus become a member of the visible church?
Our Larger Catechism teaches us that the visible church is made up of “all such as profess the true religion, and their children.”
3. Can you explain, in outline form, the proof that infants should be baptised?
The following steps are involved and it should be kept in mind that these steps are simply motivators for your own study in this important doctrine:
(1) When you consider infant baptism you are basing your belief on what we call “Covenant Theology” for the practice of infant baptism is vitally related to the covenant of grace.
(2) The infant must be the child of a believing parent (or parents) in order to be considered part of the covenant (1 Cor. 7:14. Acts 2:38,39).
(3) God established a covenant of grace with Abraham and this covenant included children (Gen. 17:7,11,12).
(4) The covenant of the Old Testament and the covenant of the New Testament are substantially the same and God promised it would be an everlasting covenant (Genesis 17:7. Gal. 3:13,14. Romans 4:3).
(5) The rite of circumcision symbolised salvation in the Old Testament and it was the sign of the covenant relationship between God and His people. Baptism in the New Testament symbolised the same (Gen. 17. Deut. 10. Rom. 4. Col. 2:11,12).
(6) God’s people, because of the teachings just mentioned, are bound to put the sign of the covenant upon themselves and their children.