Why do we baptize infants? This is the question we discussed last night at the Theology and Leadership class. As is true for many areas of Christian faith and practice, there is no one Bible verse that provides irrefutable grounds for baptizing the infants of believers (“paedobaptism”). It’s not a question to be settled by appealling to a few verses of Scripture.
But that is not to say the practice of paedobaptism is unbiblical. On the contrary, it is rooted in the Bible’s testimony of God’s redemptive, covenant dealings with his people. This is why the book that we read for the Theology and Leadership class, “Children of the Promise,” is so helpful. The author, Robert Booth, explains how the basic continuity between God’s dealings with Israel in the Old Testament, and his dealings with the Church in the New Testament, provides the reason why we as Christians should have our children baptized. Specifically, it’s because God’s promises to Abraham, to be his God and the God of his offspring (Gen. 17:7), carry over into the New Testament, where the promise of God’s grace and salvation is “for you and for your children” (Acts 2:39). Since the sign of this covenant promise, circumcision, was given to the children (or, sons) of Israel, so the new sign of the God’s covenant promise, baptism, ought to be given to the children of believers today.
Obviously, much more can be said. But, if you wonder about the validity of infant baptism, or would like to better understand why we practice it, I highly recommend Booth’s book to you.