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Should those who were "baptized" as Infants be "baptized" again?

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One of the questions I’m often asked comes from Christians who were raised in a Presbyterian church or perhaps a Methodist or Episcopalian church where infant baptism was practiced. The question they ask is this: “I was baptized as an infant many years ago. Isn’t that good enough? Should I be baptized again now that I am a believer in Jesus?” Continue reading . . .

One of the questions I’m often asked comes from Christians who were raised in a Presbyterian church or perhaps a Methodist or Episcopalian church where infant baptism was practiced. The question they ask is this: “I was baptized as an infant many years ago. Isn’t that good enough? Should I be baptized again now that I am a believer in Jesus?”

Let me say from the outset that I have probably been more influenced in terms of my theological development by those who embrace paedo-baptism than I have by those who share my view, credo-baptism. I think of Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Edwards, Hodge, Warfield, and J. I. Packer, just to mention a few. Although I think they were wrong on whether or not infants should be baptized, I stand in their debt and will always be indescribably grateful for the influence they have exerted on me.

Having said that, I must assert without hesitation my conviction that infant “baptism” is not biblical baptism. In other words, the religious ritual to which many of you were subjected in which water was sprinkled on your head is not biblical, Christian baptism. Baptism is what happens in water when a Christian, a believer in Jesus, declares publicly his/her faith in him as Lord and Savior. Earlier this year I wrote an article entitled, “A Brief Defense of Believer’s Baptism” and I encourage you to read it and give it careful consideration.

What I’m saying, then, is that if you were “baptized” as an infant you were not truly “baptized”. To be baptized as a believer in Jesus is not to be baptized “again”. It is to be baptized for the first time.

Please don’t think that I’m being critical of your parents who had you sprinkled as an infant. I’m quite sure they meant well. They did it as an expression of love for you and in faithfulness to what they believed was biblical. But their love and sincerity do not transform it into genuine biblical baptism. For there to be a biblical baptism there must be conscious, personal, saving faith in Jesus.

So my strong word of encouragement to those of you who were sprinkled as an infant but have not been baptized since you became a believer in Jesus is that you obey God’s Word and speak to your Pastor or an Elder in your church and arranged to be baptized as soon as possible.

5 Comments

My answer to the title of your post is a resounding YES! Infant "baptism" isn't a real baptism.

Sarah, as I indicated in the article, I don't believe infant "baptism" is biblical baptism. That is why I put the word "baptism" in quote marks. So, yes, anyone who has not been baptized since they came to conscious faith in Jesus should be baptized in front of the church. Blessings.

What are your thoughts about Christians who were baptized as infants and then later in life publicly professed their faith in front of church?

These are helpful comments and kindly put. I would like to add that the intent should not be to change one form of sacramentalism for another. Paedo-baptism is a sacrament while credo-baptism is a prophetic symbol in obedience to Jesus' words. truefoundations.ca

Thanks Sam for your comments

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