“Who Should Be Baptized?” by Rick Appleton (Pt. 3)

All Christians Must be Baptized

Jesus Christ commanded His ministers to disciple all nations by baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that He had commanded them (Matthew 28:19-20). To be a disciple is to be enrolled to the school of Christ, to bear His name, and to be subjected to His teaching. Baptism is our “badge of solemn admission” to Christ’s church (Beattie, The Presbyterian Standards). It places a visible distinction between Christians and pagans (1 Corinthians 12:13). Christian baptism identifies the members of Christ’s household and kingdom by signifying our subjection to His authority and teaching (Romans 6:3-4). All who reside in the church, which is the household and kingdom of God on earth, must receive the initiatory rite of baptism (Larger Catechism 166; Shorter Catechism 95).   

The Children of Christians are Christians

My children have my name and are citizens of my country. There is a natural and legal relationship between parents and their children. What is true of names and countries is also true of religions. Children begin by belonging to the religion of their parents. This was true for the children of Adam (Genesis 3,4); Noah (Genesis 7:1); Abraham (Genesis 17); Isaac (Genesis 25:26-34); Jacob (Genesis 35); Moses (Exodus 4); Joshua (24:15); and David (2 Samuel 7, 12). It was true for John the Baptizer (Luke 1:59); Jesus (Luke 2:21); Peter (Acts 10:14); and Paul (Philippians 3:5-6). It was true for the pagans in Israel’s day (Deuteronomy 20:16-17). It was true for the pagans in Jesus’ day (Matthew 15:26). It is still true for the pagans in our day (1 Corinthians 7:14). It was true for believing Jews in Jesus’ day (Matthew 19:14). It was true for Christians in the first century (Acts 2:38-39). It is still true for Christians today (Ephesians 6:1). According to the natural and legal relationship that God established between parents and children, the children of Christian parents begin by belonging to the religion of Christianity. The children of Christians are Christians, not pagans (Romans 11:16).

The Children of Christians Must be Baptized

When the Lord redeemed Israel from Egypt, He required Israel to bring their children (Exodus 10:9). When the Lord delivers you from the world, He requires you to bring your children (Ephesians 6:4). When the Lord made a promise to Abraham, He required him to place a sign of that promise on the male members of his household (Genesis 17:9). When the Lord makes you a promise, He requires you to place a sign of that promise on all the members of your household (Acts 16:31-34), both male and female (Acts 8:12). This was true for the Jews and their children on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38-39). This was true for Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:48 c.f. 11:14); Lydia and her household (Acts 16); the Philippian Jailer and his household (Acts 16); Crispus and his household (Acts 18:8; 1 Cor. 1:14, 16); and Stephanus and his household (1 Cor. 1:16). This is true for you and your household (Gen. 17:7,9 with Gal. 3:9,14 and Col. 2:11,12; and Acts 2:38,39; and Rom. 4:11,12; 1 Cor. 7:14; Matt. 28:19; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15). In obedience to Christ, Christians must bring their children to the church to receive Christ’s baptism and teaching, and the church’s ministers must baptize and teach them.  The children of Christians must be baptized because all Christians must be baptized. “They are Christians, and therefore are they baptized” (The Westminster Directory for Public Worship).

Yeah Buts and What Abouts

The brevity of this proof precludes its attention to objections and questions. You may be thinking “Yeah but…” or “What about…?” Lord willing, we can address some of those thoughts in the next article.  

Attribution: By Rick Appleton, originally appeared in Providentially Speaking, a monthly newsletter of Providence Presbyterian Church (PCA)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *