Monday, August 19, 2013

Infant Baptism Defended, Argument 7

7. The New Testament abounds with the apostolic practice of family baptism.

When God opened Lidia's heart to attend to the things Paul had spoken, we are told that she was baptized, and her household. When the Philippian jailer believed he was baptized, he and his household. We also read of the household of Stefanas being baptized. It would be a remarkable coincidence, surely worth pointing out, if none of these “households” had any children. But surely this is beside the point. At any rate, the principle of family baptism, that is, of receiving all the younger members of the household on the faith of their domestic head, seems to be plainly and decisively established by the practice of the apostles.

Let me ask question. Has anyone ever heard of a case of family baptism at the hands of a Baptist minister? Has there ever been recorded a case when under the influence of a Baptist minister, the parents of a large family were converted and were then baptized, they and all theirs? I have no reticence in affirming that such a case has never been recorded. Why? The only answer that can be given is that our Baptist brothers do not act upon the principles laid down in the New Testament and which were practiced by the primitive Christians.

Great hay is made about remaining true to New Testament practice. Multitudinous arguments are made for “believers baptism” on the strength of this supposed following of the New Testament church's practice. But if the deniers of infant baptism are truly so zealous to follow New Testament practice, why do we not know of any family baptism at the hands of a Baptist minister? The question nearly needs to be asked to be answered.

Let me reiterate. I am not being glib or flippant. I mean no disrespect to the devout credo-baptist. But nonetheless, the question stands: With all the talk about following Apostolic New Testament practice, why do we never hear of Baptist ministers performing household baptisms - something we clearly see in Scripture as both Apostolic and New Testament?

I might further add that there is a bigger fish for the credo-baptist to fry with regard to the oikos (household) baptisms, and that is the fact that households in the Apostolic era included servants who were not related to anyone in the family. This is implied in the case of the Philippian jailer by the words, "he and his." From the standpoint of those who reject infant baptism, the inclusion into covenant of servants by being under the authority of the covenant head of the household, is a far bigger issue than the inclusion of infants or small children. And it is really not facing the issue honestly to run to the quick expedient of denying their existence. If we know anything about 1st century homes, it is that they had children and that they had servants. 

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