But I was baptized as an infant…
Faith and repentance are prerequisites to baptism
The concept of infant “baptism” is totally foreign to the Holy Scriptures. This practice stems from the erroneous teaching of “original sin.” The Bible does not give one single example or command of any baby being baptized anywhere. The Bible does not teach babies are born separated from God. On the contrary, Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven belongs to little children…
But Jesus said, "Allow the little children, and don't
forbid them to come to me; for to such belongs the
To explore the topic of infant baptism we must also look into the erroneous teaching of “original sin.” The idea behind baptizing a baby is to remove “original sin”, i.e., the sin of Adam and Eve.
But if humans are “born in sin” and separated from God, then Jesus would not have been sinless. Jesus was not 50% God and 50% man. He was 100% God and 100% man. And “He committed no sin…” (1Peter 2:22; See also Hebrews 4:15) Sin is something we commit. Sin is not something we are born with or “in”.
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law:
for sin is the transgression of the law. - 1John 3:4
The process of falling is a step-by-step process in which we turn away from God and commit acts contrary to His will:
but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away
and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is
full-grown, gives birth to death. – James 1:14-15
Notice in the above verses nowhere does it even imply we are born in sin.
Paul taught that we fall short because we sinned-
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”-Romans 3:23
The word “sinned” is an active verb. It means we did something. We sinned. Although we have a disposition to sin, we are not born lost and separated from God. How can babies who can’t even yet speak, sin?
Paul reiterates this idea again:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—Romans 5:12
Notice this does not say men were born into sin. It says death comes because we all sin. The word “sinned” is an active
verb. This means we have an active hand in our own demise. It is something we
do to ourselves. Sin is an act. We commit sin; We are not born
condemned. The act of Adam gave men the choice to sin because sin was now
Adam’s act brings death. In choosing to follow Adam’s path we die.
Jesus Christ’s act brings life. In choosing to follow Jesus’ path we live.
But whether in Adam or in Christ (the Second Adam), we make a choice. And the end result is a result of that choice.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of
one shall many be made righteous.-- Romans 5:19
Or in other words:
In Adam, we do not die until we choose to disobey.
In Christ we do not live until we choose to obey.
But the end result of either
is from the choice we make to obey or disobey. Both choices we
have exist in the world as a result brought about by the actions of these “
Adam’s disobedience doesn’t make every baby born lost anymore than Christ’s death automatically makes every human being found. Through Adam, sin has been set before us. Through Christ, righteousness has been set before us. If every human was born separated from God because Adam sinned and died, then every human being would be spiritually alive (saved) because Jesus obeyed and lives. But we can’t be saved unless we make a decision and choose to follow Christ. Likewise, we don’t die spiritually until we choose to disobey God—and sin. When Adam’s “eyes were opened” he realized he had a choice—and we know what choice he made. Ultimately, whether we live or die, comes about by a choice we make.
Another problem with the doctrine of “original sin” is that it teaches people they don’t have to take responsibility for their own sins.
Paul explains that there was a time when he was alive once (probably meaning as a child), but when God’s Law came (and he broke it), he died—just as Adam and Eve died when they sinned.
“For I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin came
to life, and I died.” –Romans 7:9
Even in the Old Testament there is evidence to reason that babies are not born lost and separated from God:
"Why didn't I die from the womb? Why didn't I give up the spirit when my mother
bore me? Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breast, that I should suck?
For now should I have lain down and been quiet. I should have slept, then I would
have been at rest –Job 3:11-13
The Bible often uses the term “sleep” and “rest” to describe a person who has died and gone to heaven. See 1Cor 15:6,18,20
The reasoning behind the error of baptizing babies and infants is to remove “original sin” so that if they die they will go to heaven. But the Bible teaches each man is accountable to God for his own sins, not the sins of others. Ask your Jewish friends. The concept of “original sin” is foreign to Judaism.
Yet say you, Why does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? when the son has done that which is lawful and right, and has kept all my statutes, and has done them, he shall surely live. The soul who sins, he shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him. –Ezekiel 18:19-20
"Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin," --Deuteronomy 24:16
We are not held responsible to God for Adam’s sin. Babies are not born separated from God. Therefore there is no need to remove “original sin.” Baptizing an infant is an attempt to remove sin that is not there. Sin is disobeying God’s commands. Sin is falling short of His laws. What command has a baby disobeyed? Babies are not lost.
This is why we only find believing, repentant adults, who have made conscious decisions to follow Christ, being baptized in the scriptures!
#1.) an infant does not hear or understand the Gospel of Christ
#2.) an infant cannot therefore believe in Jesus
#3.) More importantly, an infant has no sin and therefore has nothing to repent of, and needs no forgiveness.
Faith must always precede baptism.
Once a child grows and matures and becomes disobedient (and therefore sins) baptism can then enter the equation along with faith and repentance. No one knows what this “age of accountability” is, however; Each person is different.
But someone will say…
“Ok, although I was baptized as a baby and I don’t even remember it, my parents told me it happened and then I went through “confirmation” when I was 13….”
What is one “confirming”? Is one confirming belief (faith) in Jesus Christ as the Son of God when baptized as an infant? Is one “confirming” repentance of sins not yet committed as an infant? Is one “confirming” making a decision to follow Christ when one was an infant? Baptism in the Holy Scriptures only occurs after faith in Christ, not the other way around.
You see, infant baptism is a complete and total error. The concept of “original sin” is a false teaching that prevents people from being baptized correctly. If one is baptized as an infant; if one went through “confirmation” they were not baptized correctly. It needs to be done correctly, according to the scriptures to be saved. Please do not delay.
But what about Psalm 58:3?
Even from birth
the wicked go astray;
from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.
Although this verse is usually cited in support of saying we are born lost, upon closer examination, this verse actually adds to the argument against all being born in a 'lost state.' If one is going to insist upon a literal interpretation of this verse, then let's look at it literally. The verse says "the wicked go astray" from birth. This implies two classes of individuals:
1.) the wicked and 2.) the righteous
If it is the wicked who go astray, then the righteous do not go astray. Therefore, not all are born lost. If all are born lost then they cannot go astray. They are already astray! I cannot go outside of a house unless I am first inside it. I cannot leave a place unless I am first there. This verse cannot be used to support that all people are born in a lost state because it teaches the exact opposite. Who goes astray? The wicked. Who then does not go astray? The righteous. The false doctrine of 'original sin' teaches one class at birth, not two.
We must always be careful when attempting to build entire doctrines around the often poetic verses of the Psalms, especially when our conclusions may run contrary to the vast weight of other Scriptures. Often times the language is symbolic, or employs literary techniques such as hyperbole (exaggeration) to make a point. It can be seen that this verse is symbolic because babies do not come out of the womb able to talk. It is the state or our heart that causes us to walk away from God. But God creates us all with a "clean slate." That is why Jesus said it was necessary to be "born again" (John 3:3). If we are born lost, what would be the point of being born again? What good would it do?
Another common question about infant baptism:
It says his whole household was baptized. Doesn’t that mean infants would be present?
Actually, no. Just the fact that a whole household of people were baptized does not mean infants were automatically present. Millions of people around the world live in households where there are no infants present. This passage is often used in a vain attempt to justify the unbiblical practice of infant baptism. But if one actually reads the passage carefully, one will see that this passage actually tells us no infants were present! Let’s look at it:
Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole family.
What this passage says regarding infant baptism:
1.) Paul and Silas spoke the Word of the Lord to all those in the jailer’s household.
2.) All members of the jailer’s family were baptized
3.) The whole family of the jailer came to BELIEVE in God.
Conclusion: Since every member of the jailer’s family came to BELIEVE (after having heard the Word preached to them) there could not possibly have been even a single infant present because infants cannot BELIEVE in God. Infants are not capable of understanding the “Word of the Lord”, nor can infants be described as “having come to believe in God.” Therefore, everyone in the household of the jailer was old enough that they could hear and understand the gospel being taught to them, and come to a personal faith in Christ.
Only when an individual is old enough to believe the gospel do they become a valid candidate for baptism.
If you need help finding someone to baptize you send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here for an external link to a more in-depth look at the false doctrine of “original sin.”
This page updated October 7, 2007