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Holman Bible Dictionary
Those favoring infant baptism raise the following arguments: (1) household baptisms likely included some infants (Acts 16:5 ,Acts 16:5,16:33; Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16 ); (2) Jesus' welcome and blessing of children is a mandate to baptize infants (Mark 10:13-16 ); “hinder” is a technical term associated with baptism (Acts 8:36 ); (3) circumcision which prefigured baptism (Colossians 2:11 ) included children (Genesis 17:12 ); (4) in the Old Testament children participated in ceremonies of covenant renewal (Deuteronomy 29:10-13; Joshua 8:35; Joel 2:16 ).
Baptists and other adherents of believer's baptism raise the following arguments and counter-arguments: (1) The New Testament prerequisite of baptism is faith (Acts 18:8 ) which is evidenced by confession (Romans 10:9-10 ) and repentance (Acts 2:38 ); (2) infant baptism rests ultimately on the fear that infants are held accountable for organic sin; Baptists counter with a doctrine of an age of accountability at which conscious sin occurs (Genesis 8:21; Psalm 25:7; Jeremiah 3:25 ) and at which a conscious response to God is possible (1 Kings 18:12; Psalm 71:5 ,Psalms 71:5,71:17 ); (3) household baptisms need not have included children; baptism is prefigured in the salvation of Noah and his exclusively adult household in the ark (1 Peter 3:20-21 ); (4) Jesus' blessing of the children demonstrates Christ's love for children; children are presented as an example to disciples rather than as disciples themselves (Matthew 18:2-4 ); (5) circumcision is an imperfect analogy to baptism; only males participated in circumcision, whereas in baptism there is “neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28 ); the witness of the New Testament is that “what is born of the flesh is flesh” and that a spiritual birth is necessary to enter God's kingdom (John 3:5-6 ); it is not the Israel of the flesh that inherits the promises of God but those who are spiritual Israel by a faith commitment (Romans 6-8; Galatians 6:16 ); (6) the responsibility of the faith community to its children is instruction in the way of the Lord (Deuteronomy 4:9-10; Deuteronomy 11:19; Proverbs 22:6 ); participation in covenant renewal is educational for children. See Accountability, Age of , Baptism .
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Infant Baptism'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/i/infant-baptism.html. 1991.