Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Are Children Exempted From Baptism; If So, When Are They Ready For Baptism?"

Baptism comes from a Greek word baptizo meaning to immerse or submerse from afflictions and calamities that overburden an individual. This correlates with Romans 6:3-4, Col 2:12; I Cor 12:13; Gal 3:27. The mode has always been a subject of arguments too, but that should not pose problems if we look at the examples of Jesus, John the Baptist and the Eunuch. There is not a single place in the Bible where we see that people are baptized by being sprinkled water upon their heads. That act in itself is called aspersion. The Bible does not mention aspersion; it mentions baptism.

However, what if the individual got believed in the desert and even the oasis could not furnish a brook or pool water. That is where we talk of baptism in a drum or swimming pool.

Another area of contention has been in whose name. Jesus said in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The disciples baptized in the name of Jesus. Whether you baptize in the Godhead or the only name through which we are saved, it is still accurate.

The Council of Carthage, in 253, reconsidered the notion of infants not being baptized. If you are a student of church history, you will quickly know why. From 100 A.D-300 A.D there were local and intense persecutions that even led to the death of the apostles and some church fathers like Ignatius(sentenced to wild beasts), and Polycarp (was burnt at the stake for refusing to worship Caesar) . Those persecutions of burning Christians to the stake, being fed to the lions, being beheaded, being torched, and even being crucified caused a major exodus and scattering which is affirmed in Acts 8:4. The absence of many adults in church and the church in die need to preserve its pool of membership began questioning the raison d’ĂȘtre of not baptizing infants in the Council of Carthage in 253. That means initially, even the Catholic Church did not baptize infants. The question now is: should we baptize infants?

In clear terms, baptism is a symbolic act. Thus, it is important to note that whether a child is baptized or not, baptism does not add or subtract to their salvation because baptism is a like figure. It is a physical act that shows what happens to the spiritual man. Peter goes further to amplify that, baptism should not be simply used as a washing session, but a time we truly put forth a good conscience. In others words, after you get baptized, people should be able to see that you have truly changed your character from bad to good.

If we follow the sequential order of these verses Mt 28:19; Mk 16:16, Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12; 9:8; 18:8; 19:5, we see that the first process is believing and then followed by baptism. The question now is at what stage in life can we consider a child conscious up to a point where they can believe in Jesus? If we follow the fact that when Lydia (Acts 16:15), and The Jailer (Acts 16:33) believed in Christ, they were baptized with their entire families, then we will have to reconcile both passages.

There is a stronger evidence on the sequential order of believe and be baptized than being baptized with your entire household. Looking at the culture in those days, one would easily understand why. If the leader of the household believed, everyone under them followed. This is backed up in those who were baptized in the household of Lydia (Acts 16:15), The jailer (Acts 16:33), and Crispus (Acts 18:8).

Therefore, if a man believes and comes with his household to be baptized, the church should baptize them presumably that they have believed since we cannot determine the hearts of men (Jer 17:9-10; Prov 14:10, I Cor 2:11; Eccl 9:1). But bringing an infant in isolation for baptism is not defended anywhere in the bible. Consequently, infants should be allowed to mature until a time when they can believe for their sins to be forgiven and then be given baptism as a proof of their repentance.

Until then, God bless you.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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