Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
   A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

In Acts 2:36-39, Baptism took place after conviction of sin and repentance. There is no mention of Baptism at infancy as is the case at our church. Colossians 2:11,12, refers to baptism as being buried and resurrected with Christ by faith. Again here there is no reference to Baptism at infancy. The only occasion that infants could have been baptized is among Cornelius’s “whole” household. I really don't know of  any scripture that directly points to infants being baptized or gives an explicit example of one. Therefore, do we baptize infants because it is solely biblical or because we believe that infants carry the original sin and so they need to be cleansed through baptism notwithstanding the issue of repentance that usually precedes baptism in the biblical examples?

We do practice Baptism at infancy for several reasons:

1. We do believe that infants are born carrying the original sin, and we are concerned about their eternal life "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). So, how can we deprive children from being baptized thereby exposing them to God's judgment?

2. The words of the Lord "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16) are meant for adults who are capable of understanding the significance of faith. Therefore, we do not baptize adults unless they profess their belief. As for children, we apply the Lord's words, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14). If we reject the baptism of children we are in fact denying the necessity of baptism for salvation.

3. The Holy Bible includes implicit references to Baptism at infancy.

a) When baptizing the jailer of Philippi, St. Paul and St. Silas said to him "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:31). This means that the jailer's belief would be the first step, which would lead his household to salvation. It is said immediately after that "Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized" (Acts 16:32-33).

b) Concerning Lydia the seller of purple, the Holy Bible says, "And when she and her household were baptized" (Acts 16:15).

c) St. Paul said, "Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas" (1 Cor 1:16).

d) In Acts 2:36-39, the Holy Bible did not mention that there were no children among those who were baptized on the day of Pentecost. The call was for all who were present, adults and children. Those old enough to understand repented but there is no indication that  they prevented the children from being baptized. Actually the Holy Book of Acts 2:39 reads "for the promise is to you and to your children."

4. There is no single verse in the Holy Bible forbidding the baptism of children.

5. Children are baptized according to the belief of their parents. This principle is not new.It has been well documented in the Holy Bible from the time of Abraham:

a) (Colossians 2:11,12) Circumcision was a symbol of baptism by which the circumcised became a member of God's people according to God's covenant with our father Abraham.
(Gen 17:11,12). Circumcision was done on the eighth day after birth according to God's command

b) On the Day of the Passover children were saved through the blood of the Passover lamb from the hand of the angel who killed every firstborn son. The blood of the Passover lamb was a symbol of the blood of our Lord Christ "For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us" (1 Cor 5:7). So what was the belief of the children who were saved by the blood of the Passover lamb? No doubt they knew nothing but they were saved by the faith of their parents who believed in the blood and its effectiveness.

c) The crossing of the sea at the time of Moses was a symbol of baptism St. Paul says "all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor 10:2). The sea was crossed by adults who were aware of God's promise to Moses and by their children who again had no idea what was going on.
Home | Ask A Question | Search Q&A