A Simple Argument for Infant Baptism from the Great Commission

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Many in depth articles and books have been written about the continuity of the covenants and infant baptism.  I hope someday to be able to write some articles looking into those things, but for my purposes now this is to be a very short article looking at the Great Commission and baptism.  It is interesting to note that while there are many examples in Scripture where people are commanded to be baptized (think “repent and be baptized!”) this is the only command in Scripture to baptize people.  I also want to preface this argument with pointing out that there is not a single verse in Scripture that forbids baptizing children believers who are in God’s covenant of grace.  Any credobaptist who has looked into these debates will not disagree with that point.

That said, lets look at the actual text of what is known as the Great Commission. The context of this passage is that Jesus is giving final commands to His disciples before He ascends.

Matthew 28:18-20 ESV   “18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

It is important to understand the structure of this command.  The command is to go and make disciples.  These aren’t several separate commands.  Baptizing them and teaching them to observe all He has commanded are subsets of making disciples.  He is clarifying what He means by “make disciples”.  So the command is to make disciples and the way we do that is to baptize them and to teach them to observe all that He has commanded.

The thing that both paedobaptists and credobaptists all do and agree on is that from as young as possible we should teach our children to observe all that God has commanded.  And any good and faithful parent does indeed teach their child to obey God’s commands.  So we all agree that we do not have to wait on a profession of faith to begin the second part of the command to make disciples of our children.  The split is on the first part.  Creobaptists say we must wait to do the baptizing part (again even though Scripture never commands us to wait nor does it forbid us to go ahead and baptize our children).

I can see no good reason for waiting to obey this command regarding our children.  We already agree that we start the process of making our children disciples from infancy.  Why leave this one part out until later?  Why teach them to observe all God has commanded but not baptize them?  Again there is not a single verse that tells us to hold off on the baptizing part of that command.  So brothers, let us obey the Great Commission and both baptize our children and teach them to obey all that God has commanded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “A Simple Argument for Infant Baptism from the Great Commission

  1. You cannot make a disciple of anyone who does not have the ability to chose to become a disciple. Infants cannot be disciples because they cannot choose, so they should not be baptized. Anyone who has not made the decision to follow cannot be a disciple. Discipleship, like progressive sanctification, is a process, not a one-time thing. Only a believer can be baptized or discipled. Merriam-Webster defines a disciple as follows: “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another: such as a: Christianity: one of the twelve in the inner circle of Christ’s followers according to the Gospel accounts [and] b: a convinced adherent of a school or individual ” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disciple). Thus, salvation must come before both baptism and discipleship.

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