Thursday, June 11, 2009


As my Reformed Oasis readers know, I was a Reformed Baptist for nine years, and I became a paedobaptist (believer in infant baptism) just last year. Recently, a Baptist brother asked me to share with him a text "clearly" demonstrating an infant being baptized. I wanted to share my response, and I invite readers to comment. -- Josh Brisby

Brother ---------,

I would like to keep this short, since ---------'s Facebook account is not the proper place to dialogue/debate about this. I would love to dialogue with you about this by e-mail, if you wish. You may e-mail me at I will be happy to respond and dialogue in a brotherly and cordial fashion.

Since you asked a question publicly, I will answer publicly, but then I hope you will e-mail me so we can continue. You asked if I could show you one verse showing an infant baptized.

Respectfully, I don't think that's a helpful question to ask. I could ask you to show me one verse showing me that *only* (key word "only") professors should be baptized. Neither side is clear in an explicit sort of way. Both sides use inference. For example, the credo side looks at the texts which speak of people believing and being baptized, and they assume that we can draw an inference from that that *only* believers should be baptized. (I will digress at this point
to say why I believe that is fallacious reasoning.) These brothers look at the household passages and believe that in every case (or every except perhaps one case), people believed first. They also look at the various texts which speak of God's view of our children, and they consider those texts as not proof for the paedo side, or they interpret them differently.

The paedo, on the other hand, looks at the various texts which show God's view of our children, both in the OT and NT, the meaning of both baptism and circumcision, etc., and then takes that model and is not surprised when he/she sees household passages, Jesus' blessing of babies, Paul's calling of our children as holy as opposed to unclean, etc.

So, both sides use inference. I am convinced that it is simply not true that the Baptist side is so clear, b/c there is not one text that says that *only* believers should be baptized; nor is there even one example of someone being born into a Christian home, growing up,
professing faith, and then being baptized.

So, perhaps we can continue from there by e-mail. My e-mail is

I wish you every blessing in our Savior!


Greg said...

Very nicely (and graciously) stated, Josh. That Baptist argument was one that I often used when I held that view.
Did I show you my paper on it?


Josh Brisby said...


Yes, you showed me your paper. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Josh, great points! I feel that there are many theological belief systems that have been developed through inference in the very same manner that you describe. I often wonder how so many Christians often believe how clear and precise scripture is on every issue and often never consider
alternate interpretations. I have witnessed a family member leave the faith because a Christian church told him that his infant baptism was invalid. We often focus on the minor and neglect the major- loving our neighbor, feeding the hungry, etc.

Josh Brisby said...


Wow, I am very sorry to hear about your family member. That is saddening to me.

Yes, I think it is so important to dialogue and discuss with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and to consider alternate interpretations. It is wonderful when iron sharpens iron.

Welcome to The Reformed Oasis!

Gospel.or.Death said...

Well said, Josh.

Scott F Oakland said...

I'm studying the issue myself, brother. Thanks for your boldness and courage on this. I am Reformed Baptist (a Pastor of an SBC church) and lights are beginning to go on. But I'm not rushing this.....lots more study to do. I have difficulty with believers & non-believers in the New Covenant....

Anonymous said...

"nor is there even one example of someone being born into a Christian home, growing up, professing faith, and then being baptized." Could Timothy be an example? "Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal, whereunto thou wast called, and didst confess the good confession in the sight of many witnesses" (1 Tim 6:12). Interestingly, William Hendriksen says, "he had in connection with his baptism professed his faith publicly."

von said...

Hey, since I have found you (which I did through an interesting route) I wonder: would anyone here be willing to help a paedobaptist friend of mine (16 yo, ESL) who is struggling trying to 'convert' me (a 50 yo Credobaptist) to his view?

He is really struggling to answer my arguments (here: but the whole thing here:
and I feel sorry for the guy. My arguments are a little stronger than the ones you use here, and he can't seem to find anyone to help him answer them.

Anonymous said...

Josh, with all due respect you stated that there's no Bible verse stating one must believe before being baptized. Have you not read the account of Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts? Philip made it clear to him that he could only be baptized IF he believed with all of his heart.
How can anyone think that a baby can die and go to hell when the Bible is not clear on that? No specific accounts even reference babies being baptized in the Bible. For all we know, God may have elected all infants to go to heaven if they die, whether they are baptized or not.
How can anyone be so dogmatic on such an unclear, undogmatic issue? Infant baptism makes no biblical sense whatsoever.