by Don Fortner
This is God's method of grace:
First, the gospel was preached.
Second, many who heard believed.
Third, those who believed were baptized.
According to the pattern and the precept of the New Testament, baptism is for believers only (Acts 7:37). No infants were ever baptized because their parents were believers, only believers themselves. Believers follow Christ in baptism because he commands it (Mk. 16:15-16). By baptism we identify ourselves with Christ and his people, confess our faith in him, and renounce our former religion as darkness and idolatry (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:4-6).
(Luke 18:15-17) "And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. (16) But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (17) Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein."
Very few passages in the New Testament have been so perversely twisted to teach false doctrine as these three verses. For that reason, I must, at least briefly, address two of the perverse things men most commonly use these verses to teach.
Infant Baptism ó Papists and those who continue to practice the Romish ritual, commonly refer to these verses as a defense of sprinkling water on babies.
If there were any place in the Bible where we might expect to find some mention or example of "infant sprinkling" this would be the place; but that is not the case.
This practice of what is called "infant baptism" is totally without foundation in Holy Scripture. There is not so much as one word in the Bible that teaches, or even implies it. And there is not a single example of it in the entire Bible. It is a practice purely of Roman Catholic origin. It is vainly hoped, by those who practice infant sprinkling that the baby sprinkled with a little water is thereby regenerated, or at least given one foot up toward God. The practice is, of course, totally contrary to the plainest declaration of Holy Scripture, both with regard to salvation and baptism.
It is a complete contradiction of the gospel of God free and sovereign grace in Christ. Salvation does not come by water, be it much or little, but by grace. It is not the result of some manís priestly pretense, but of Godís sovereign operation.
Infant sprinkling is also totally contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture about baptism. Baptism is immersion, picturing the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and our death, burial and resurrection with him (Rom. 6:3-6). It is called "believerís baptism" because only believers are to be baptized. Baptism is the believerís symbolic confession of faith in Christ.