Question On Infants' Faith

Discussion in 'Credo-Baptism Answers' started by greenbaggins, Jul 19, 2008.

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  1. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I don't know if this is the right forum, since I am paedo. Nevertheless, I am looking for answers from credos on this, so I think this is the right forum.

    Can infants be saved? Can they have faith? Some credo explanation of Psalm 22:9 and Luke 2:39-45 would be great in this context.

    Presupposing the answer to the above question is yes (or if you don't agree with it, can you grant the point temporarily for argument's sake?), then why is the profession of faith itself so important to baptism? Of course, paedos do not believe that infants are automatically saved, nor do we believe in ex opere operato understandings of the sacrament of baptism. Is it possible for a covenantal understanding of the home to lead us in a direction of the parents' professing faith for their children? Or is a profession of faith always an individualistic thing? Given the fact that many societies before the modern era had only heads of households voting, is the Enlightenment changing the way we look at families? Can the head of the house speak for the house?
  2. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    Undoubtedly we look at families different than we used to. Whether that is entirely due to the Enlightenment, I cannot say. However, I don't know how much of a parallel there is with your example and the baptism of infants.

    A father might be able to answer for his household by saying, "I vouch for the fact that every member of my family, including infants, will honor and obey future President Lincoln." But can a father truly say, "I vouch for the fact that every member of my family, including infants, will honor and obey Lord Jesus Christ?"

    As far as whether infants can have faith... Since faith is something that is given by God, I suppose it is possible. There are those passages that seem to point in that direction.
  3. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    The reason I ask this question is that it seems quite possible to me that we have imposed an overly individualistic understanding on the biblical command for profession of faith. We assume that every person has to make that profession for himself all throughout his life. I question whether that is necessary when he is an infant. Cannot someone else profess for him?

    I don't understand this as being what covenantal head of household profession of faith is about. When a parent professes faith for their children, what they are doing is claiming the promise of God that He will be a God to us and to our children. We are not so much saying that we know our children will be followers of God. What we are saying includes this idea: if our children rebel from the fold, then we know God will be a God of judgment to our children. We also promise to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. So again I ask: is this illogical?

    Then here's the analogy: children may believe, adults may believe. Children may be lying (their parents may be lying), adults may be lying. The church has unregenerate members no matter how careful the church is in admitting people to its ranks. If the parable of the dragnet in Matthew 13 actually describes the church, then are not children included?
  4. refbaptdude

    refbaptdude Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, infants can be saved.

    Because a profession of faith preceeding baptism is the pattern found in the bible.

    Lane, actually the majority report of paedos do believe in some form of baptismal regeneration. It is only in the Reformed camp that they do not believe this. You guys are in the minority:think:

    Of course the head of a house can speak for the household in the sense that he has authority over the household, but this does not change the standing of family members before God. I can profess faith on behalf of my children all day long, but that does not change the fact they are born in Adam (Rom 5:12). Since profession is to be the outward sign of possession (Rom 10:9-10), then yes, faith is a individualistic thing. And justification by faith is an individual thing, not a family thing.

    Hope this helps : )
  5. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    That is why you are a paedo! :lol:

    Is it logical?

    I hear what you are saying. But it sounds to my credo ears that you are claiming a promise that is made to the parent, not the child. (The promise was never to be a God to you children and your parents) It is the parent's faith and it is the parent's promise to claim. Therefore, to me it isn't logical to bestow upon the infant a sign of a promise that is made to the parent. And that is what it boils down to from my POV: the baptism of an infant is a sign of a promise to the parent, not the infant.

    You brought up the example of the head of household voting on behalf of his family. I was merely pointing out that I don't see the connection between casting a vote on behalf of your family, promising honor and obedience to an elected official, and a paedo parent making a promise to honor and obey Christ, which is at least part of what a profession of faith is.

    We do not baptize because we believe without a shadow of a doubt that a person's profession is genuine. We baptize upon an 'actual' profession, not a 'credible' profession. (See LBC 29:2) We do so, as is mentioned above, because that is the NT pattern and is in harmony with the general tenor of the NT.

    I have to admit that I am having difficulty understanding your questions. I often find this to be true when talking to Reformed paedos. I am sure it is because of my own 'obtuseness' and the fact that the paradigm between the two positions is so different. Please forgive me if I am not understanding what you are getting at.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2008
  6. refbaptdude

    refbaptdude Puritan Board Freshman

    Lane, do you subscribe to your statement above in relation to adults?
  7. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    The way this was sometimes explained when I was in a "credo" baptism church (not a Reformed church) was that until the "age of accountability" a child will not perish. I have read and heard the "age of accountability" runs to age 2, age 5, age 7, Dr MacArthur even once said he thought to age 20 in certain circumstances to my favorite answer, "only God knows."
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2008
  8. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    This is, however, not the confessional view. The confessional Baptist view is that 'elect' children will not perish.

  9. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, you are quite right!

    The "credo" baptism church I am referring to was not Reformed Baptist or anything close to it. It was more of what I now know as "broadly evangelical," charismatic influenced, etc. No confession, Arminian influenced, dispensational, a "memorial" only view of the sacraments, etc.

    And thank you for citing the London Baptist Confession on this point- it looks very close to the Westminster Standards and is very carefully written to say no more, no less than Scripture is clear on.

    Now, thanks to Puritan Board I have used the term "credo"- I didn't use it carefully or knowledgeably, but I used it nontheless. Another milestone.:cool:
  10. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Puritan Board Junior

    Salvation is of the Lord. God can save and does save from conception to old age. If an infant is saved from his sins at a young age that is wonderful.
    As he grows, learns to speak,read, he will be able to live a fruitful life and serve God as the Spirit works in him.
    Having godly parents will be a great help to the discipleship of this child.
    The scripture speaks of each person giving account of "himself" to God.Rom14:12
    in ezk 18 we have this;
    and again
    There is this section of ezk 14 also that is of interest;
    Lane, we think that the proper profession of faith is baptism.
  11. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Can infants be saved? Certainly. The LBC and the WCF are agreed on the term "elect infants." Can elect infants exercise faith? You supply two passages for consideration. Is David saying that he exercised faith while nursing? I wonder whether Psalm 22:9 is a forensic statement of God's election of David. A good parallel passage is 2 Timothy 3:15.

    Regarding the Luke passage, I think this verse adds clarity, "The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." (Luke 2:40) We are reading about a child in whom all the fullness of the godhead dwelt bodily. I'm not sure what parallel can be drawn between the God-man and other infants.

    Can infants have faith? Before I take a stab at that question I would like to answer a question with a question. Is it essential to the paedo position to believe infants can exercise faith or can the paedo position exist without that distinctive? What does the scripture say about faith?

    Romans 10:14-17 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!" 16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?" 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

    (emphasis mine)

    Because it is reasonable. If a person walks into your church and says, "I want to be baptized" aren't you going to ask him why, or would you just baptize? Acts 8:36,37 provides apostolic evidence of asking a person to give a profession of faith. Philip did not require a long litany (nor should we), but he did ask the Ethiopian if he believed.

    No. While I am not attributing the Roman view of baptism to you (Lane), isn't this what the godfather does in Roman baptism? If a parent professes faith for their children it is a great temptation in leaning towards presumptive regeneration. I point you back to Romans 10 (above).
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