Question 95: To whom is baptism to be administered?
Answer: Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized.
I know by what means they came to this answer, but being men who spent much time in the Scripture, I do not understand how they held to it. There is much that we all do out of habit, and because others did it before us; but the truth is, the second part of this answer is fallacy. There is absolutely no instance of anyone being Baptized in Scripture except that of a believer.
I believe that the reformers were on the path to abandon the practice of infant baptism but they chickened out. Throughout the middle ages, and during the time of the reformation, the way that governments counted its citizenry was through church baptismal records. If only believers were baptized, not all persons born in the country would be counted. In order to have governmental protection, the reformers attached themselves to the state, and the Westminster Puritans were no different.
An inference, therefore, was made on a text in Acts 16:31-34 and attached to circumcision in the Abrahamic covenant. There is no reference in Scripture that links baptism and circumcision. When one really looks at it, the whole thing is just crazy, but human emotion takes over and blinds reason.
The Phillipian Jailer asked Paul and Silas, Acts 16:30-34 (NASB)
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.
I do not have time in the few minutes that I write this morning to explain and refute infant baptism as it relates to covenant theology, however, the Scripture only teaches believers baptism and not that of unbelievers, which includes a believers infant. There is no indiction in the aforementioned text that suggest infant baptism but only suggest that those who believed were baptized. In order to make such an inference, there must be other examples in Scripture but there simply is not any.
What does the Scripture teach about Baptism?
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper. (BFM, Article 7a)
Your Servant for Jesus’ Sake