By Matt Auxt

Credobaptism is essentially believer’s baptism, and paedobaptism is essentially infant baptism. Both views have been around for centuries and both claim scriptural support.  Therefore, this post will analyze the Scriptures, historical positions, and objections while seeking to understand which view is most consistent with Scripture. It is very important to not slander someone else's viewpoint, especially when they are in Christ, so it is imperative to represent the opposite side accurately. Since there is a clear distinction between the two views, the end of this post will seek to show how to move forward, including how there can still be some unity with distinction with the opposing view.


There are multiple arguments to believe that the Bible points to paedobaptism, and that the church should authoritatively perform this sacrament by baptizing infants as well as new converts. Baptism of an adult or an infant does not change their state of regeneration, and baptism is not a work unto salvation. Baptism is the process of bringing one into the New Covenant of the church age. There are three mainline arguments for paedobaptism: the continuation of circumcision, the household baptisms in the New Testament, and finally the general acceptance from the early church fathers. Paedobaptists understand that this topic is not expressly commanded, but it is indirectly eluded to and internally consistent with the rest of Scripture. The goal of this segment of the post is to understand the flow of each of the before-mentioned arguments. An important note here is, “What is the benefit of baptizing babies?” A brief answer is to give the infant covenantal blessings. It is important to note that paedobaptism does not produce regeneration in the child, but brings the child into the family of Christ or the body of the church. This idea makes sense in the context of Hebrews 6:4-6, referring to the one who has shared in the Holy Spirit has fallen away and will not be restored to repentance is referring to those who have been baptized into the church and the family of Christ, rejecting the Christian way, committing apostasy instead of accepting the great price that it is to follow Christ.[1]

Paedobaptism is the Continuation of Circumcision with New Covenant Blessings

Paedobaptism begins in the Old Testament. A good biblical scholar will always begin their argument from the beginning and build on it from there. In today's culture, many see the Old Testament as unnecessary for the church today, but on the contrary, it is necessary to set up the church. One has to remember that Christ did not come to abolish the law, but fulfill it (Mt 5:17). Therefore, infant baptism goes back as early as circumcision. It is important to understand circumcision for what it was. Circumcision, in the physical act, was the cutting off of the foreskin of the male child to show a sign of membership of Israel and a setting apart or cutting away the individual from the world for God.[2]

"This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant." (Genesis 17:10-14, ESV)

Circumcision was a setting apart of a people for God and God would bless these people for as long as they were circumcised. If they did not circumcise their male children, then God would cut that person off from being a child of God. So there is this distinction between being a part of the nation of God, being made in the image of God, and then a special blessing of being a child of God under the Abrahamic Covenant. The act of circumcision was not merely physical, even though it had a physical meaning of separation; it also had a spiritual meaning of separation. Circumcision was both physical and spiritual for Israel in the Old Testament.

The spiritual aspect of circumcision was that the child was born into the nation of Israel and received a special blessing to be a part of the nation of Israel. When Christ came He did not abolish the law, but fulfilled it in the sense of bringing it to completion. Since Christ is making it better, the benefits are increased not diminished. Circumcision acted as a sign and seal of being inside the nation, and the church is considered the new spiritual nation of Christ; and infants were an integral part of the continuation of the nation and so to the church (Mt 21:43).[3] Also, Paul inseparably links circumcision to baptism in Colossians 2:8-15, connecting the two, to being before God positionally, but not necessarily in the specific time of giving a profession. It is important to note that infant baptism does not save the child, but places it into the church family with the special blessings of having believing parents; this coincides with the Abrahamic covenant where children had the blessing of being in Israel and received a part of the covenant promises and curses just like infants today.[4] 1 Corinthians 7:12-14 speaks also of the continual blessings for the children, through the obedience of a parent or both parents, bringing special blessings to their children in the New Testament. The evidence shows an explicit connection between baptism and circumcision that would point to the importance of baptizing infants into the church so that they can receive special blessings of being part of the church, just as children were a part of the nation through circumcision and separation from the world.

Household Baptisms that are in the New Testament Demonstrates Paedobaptism

The national aspect of circumcision is only one example of the importance of infant baptism to be practiced within the church. Another place which one can go is the narrative of the early church to see the accounts of children being baptized. This is called the household baptism argument which is found in multiple passages in the New Testament, such as  Acts 10:1-48, 16:15, 31-34, 18:8, and 1 Corinthians 1:16. Specifically, in Acts 16:15, when Lydia was converted, she and her household were baptized. The word household, in Greek, has specific references to the Old Testament Septuagint, the Greek translation, where it is referring to infants; thus, the passage is silently inferring the baptizing of infants.[5]

In Acts 16:31-33, Paul and Silas interact with the Philippian jailer, and he asks what he must do to be saved.  Paul responded with, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved you and your household." (Acts 16:31). This is a clear verse that says that the belief of the father shows the continuation of that belief affecting the whole household of the jailer. It would be normative to assume that the jailer had children in the household. This is an example of baptizing infants where one person believed and the whole household is baptized with them. The same argument appears in Acts 18:8 where Luke wrote about Crispus in Corinth, believing and being baptized with his whole family. However, a good exegete will understand that Acts is not a normative book of the Bible. It is written in the narrative, but it does give an example for the church today that is not commanded, which provides the church with a conduit of grace being passed down through generations to show continuity between the two covenants.

Let's move out of the narrative passages, and move into 1 Corinthians 1:16, where even Paul makes the statement that he baptized the whole household of Stephanas. The context of this passage is that Paul is arguing for the unity of the faith, and that it matters not who the individual is who does the act of baptism, as long as the baptism is done in the name of Christ, in reliance on the resurrection of Christ. Unity is brought by the blood of Christ and through the resurrection which gives the church confidence in their belief in Christ. It was the baptism of the infant that gave extra grace to the individual, in their upbringing, and positionally in the family of God, for as long as it is in the will of God for the baby to later be regenerated, then that baptism is a sign and a state of grace.

The General Church Fathers' Accepted the Practice of Paedobaptism

The church fathers are by no means infallible, but it is generally accepted that they were at least more knowledgeable about Scripture than the average churchgoer in America today. Many theological truths can be learned by those who have gone to the Celestial City ahead of the church today. It is important to learn from others who have battled against the same questions. The question of infant baptism is not one of only recent history, but goes back centuries. The general acceptance of infant baptism is not proof by itself, but it does make the act permissible.[6] Many authors wrote on this subject and there is not enough room to write an exhaustive summary of what the church fathers wrote on this subject; however, there can be a comprehensive summary of positions from the "titans" of the early church. This post will primarily be focused on the teachings of John Calvin and Augustine.

John Calvin wrote much about this subject, but his primary argument was the continuation of circumcision. He believed that circumcision and baptism had an anagogic relationship with the understanding that all blessings come from God and not-self.[7] Essentially he is saying that the differences between the two do not disqualify the commonality of the two. The idea is that circumcision was the removal of what was unclean, bringing the nation of Israel into a special place of grace, yet they could still perish forever. Neither circumcision nor baptism would save an individual, but just like there is a special position for Israel with God, there is a special position with children who are raised in the church and baptized as an infant.

Augustine of Hippo discussed infant baptism while debating Pelagian about God's grace and the ability of man when it comes to salvation. Infant baptism came up when the question was raised about those infants who die before they are capable of responding to the Gospel of Christ Jesus, and Augustine claimed that God would absolve the punishment for original sin before the child could make a profession, and that it was the nature of God that had to be relied upon about the destination of perishing infants.[8] Again, this is not a means unto regeneration, but an area where God demonstrates both His mercy and justice through the work of Christ on the cross. Infant baptism has no power in it, but relies wholly on the work of Christ.

The closer to the date of the original timeframe, the more accurate was the understanding of the subject at hand. It is generally accepted that the early church fathers continued the apostolic tradition of baptizing infants and baptizing adults, which shows that the Scriptural claims that have already been made were made with validity.[9] The people of the church, immediately following the death of the apostles, did perform both forms of baptism. It shows that there was a general acceptance throughout history passing down the tradition of paedobaptism demonstrating the widespread acceptance of the early church which should have some weight in the matter at hand.[10]


Infant baptism has its compelling arguments, but it is not the only view on the subject. In the realm of orthodoxy of the Christian church, there is another teaching that is referred to as Credobaptism. Credobaptism, otherwise known as believer’s baptism, asserts that baptism is specifically for the professing believer. Because an infant does not have the capability to believe, the infant should not be baptized until they profess faith. To further defend this view, the definition of baptism will be revisited and explained, the chronological order of faith preceding baptism from Scripture will be proven, and the exegetical flow of baptismal passages will be demonstrated.

The Definition of Baptism Requires Professing Faith

The doctrine of baptism must require returning to the basics before the in-depth explanation of the subject can be understood. A proper understanding of any subject should be rooted and founded in the Word of God. Baptism is first seen in the New Testament in Matthew 3:1-17, which is the best place to start the study of baptism. As a summary, John the Baptist begins his ministry in the wilderness preaching repentance and immediacy due to the coming kingdom. He is the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3 who is “the one preparing the way for the Lord making straight the crooked paths of the generation.” People were then flocking to him, being baptized by him and confessing their sins. Then John confronts the Pharisees and Sadducees for being hypocritical and relying on the promises of Abraham instead of reflecting the One who made the promises to Abraham like the law demanded (Gen 12:1, 3, 15:4-7, 17:6-7, Duet 10:12-13). As a point of context, the Pharisees would have associated the act of baptism with the Levitical Law of Mikvah or washings in Leviticus 14:1-4, 7, 9, 15:19-24. The Levitical Law was for those who were considered unclean, such as someone who was in contact with a dead body, a leper, or a woman finishing her menstrual cycle. The Pharisees would have considered this washing as an admittance of uncleanness. A Mikvah was a place to walk down into and be fully submerged in the water, making it a total washing, and the individual would always have to keep their back to the washing area as a symbol of leaving behind that uncleanness. In contrast, this was John bringing to life the sin of the Pharisees, calling for spiritual repentance instead of symbolic or ceremonial cleansing. Matthew 3:11-12, is key for it says,

"I (John) baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in his hand, and He will clear his threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire."

The chapter then ends with Jesus being baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness, and God the Father saying that He is well-pleased with His Son. This text is vital for the understanding of baptism because it sets up the rest of the texts that follow that deal with baptism. There are many things about this text that support believer’s baptism, but for now, just one will be drawn from the text for the sake of brevity. The first point is that there is a removal of positional wrath from the subject who is being baptized by repentance.[11] Notice, the text John the Baptist preaches is of the coming wrath, and the immediate response is the confession and repentance of sin. Here, baptism demonstrates the washing away of the punishment of sin. Baptism does not save the individual, but it is an act that symbolizes the rebirth (Tit 3:5) and demonstrates that the believers need to be cleansed from sin (1 Cor 6:11, Eph 5:26) and that the cleansing is not something that is done regularly but reflects the bridegroom's path that prepares the individual with purity by the cleansing from sin.[12] Baptism is the bringing into the bride of Christ as the Father's elect children that must be cleansed from all righteousness. Baptism, by definition, is intrinsically linked from the beginning with the idea of spiritually being made clean. This poses an issue with the paedobaptist brothers who think that there is an aspect of baptism that does not represent a rebirth that demonstrates what has occurred in the believer.

The Greek word for baptism here in the context of Matthew 3:6 is the word βαπτίζω which literally means to dip or to plunge making it complete immersion rather than sprinkling.[13] This has theological ramifications as well as linguistic ramifications. Theologically, baptism is the symbolism of being crucified with Christ and then being raised with Christ. The idea is that baptism is the symbol of putting to death the old nature of sin and putting on the new nature of obedience which an infant is incapable of doing. Baptism is the symbolic act of taking what was dirty and making it clean. It does nothing by itself, but is the symbol of what has already taken place. Augustine made an excellent point regarding the above passage (Mt 3:11), that it is Christ who administers the baptism, He commissioned His apostles to continue the practice (Acts 4:2), and the example of this is found throughout the book of Acts.[14] Theologically, this is a sacrament that began with Jesus and is carried out by His representatives or messengers (2 Cor 5:20). Therefore, when considering the symbol of baptism as a whole one must understand that it is a reference to one who has been already made alive and made a representative of Christ. Baptism is not an initiation into the church, even though it must be performed by the church and should be a requirement to join, but is a profession of belonging to Christ. Therefore, the definitional meaning restricts the person who receives the sacrament to being one who believes and has already been converted.

The Chronological Order of Faith and Profession Proceeds one being Baptized

The paedobaptist will claim many household baptisms in the book of Acts to show that infants could be a part of each household. However, the purpose of this section is to show that there is a chronological order which shows that in these household, baptisms are preceded by a profession of faith. The next section will go deeper into the exegetical patterns, but this section will just analyze the immediate context of each passage to show the continual flow of each passage.

Many texts in the Bible speak of baptism and even household baptism; however, here five will be discussed as accurately as possible while attempting at least some brevity. The first of these five would be Acts 10, where Peter is taught by God to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. The thesis statement of this chapter would be found in verses 27-29, where Peter declares that Jews should not segregate themselves from the Gentiles, making this passage the lynchpin for God reconciling Jews and Gentiles, fulfilling Genesis 22:17-18. What brings these two groups together? Verses 34-43 are the answer. In these verses, Peter preached the historical, factual, and life-changing Gospel message of Christ living perfectly, proving to be God incarnate, dying for the sins of the world, Old Testament contiguity, and that everyone who believes in Christ will be forgiven of sins. Immediately, the Spirit of God came down to Cornelius and the other Gentiles, and then they were baptized.[15] The chronological order here is clear: God called Peter to preach, Peter preached, the Holy Spirit descended on the Gentiles (regenerating them), and then they were baptized.

The second of the five texts is Acts 16:15. The summarization begins in verse 11 where Paul and his companions entered Philippi. Paul sought a place to pray and began to evangelize the women who were in the area. Lydia was present, and the text says in verse 14 that God opened her heart to respond to Paul's words, and then she was baptized with her household. More details of this passage will come in the next section, but the thousand-foot view of this text states that she was converted or regenerated and then baptized. There is nothing explicitly in the text that says that infants were baptized at this moment. All this text says is that Lydia, someone who did not live in Philippi, was baptized with her household. She could have been widowed, she could have been single with her own business, but the fact of the matter is that she was converted, and soon after she was baptized with her companions.[16] There are no given details about the household, but the explicit information given is that Lydia was converted and then baptized. The conclusion is that the chronological example of this passage suggests the profession of faith before baptism.

The third of the five is Acts 16:31-34, where Paul is thrown in prison in the same city for preaching the Gospel. Starting in verse 25 Paul and Silas are singing praises and praying to God while the prisoners listened. This is the proclamation of the Gospel. God releases all of the locks in the prison, and Paul and Silas save the jailer from suicide. He then asks them what must he do to be saved (Acts 16:30). Paul's response is, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household (Acts 16:31 ESV)." A cursory look at this passage may lead someone to agree that infants were baptized here. However, looking at the order of this verse, the order of events was the proclamation, belief, and then baptism. The proclamation of the Gospel preceded this event, precedes belief, and precedes baptism. The idea of this verse is that it is not isolated to the jailer alone, but the same condition for the household is if the household believes, then they are baptized.[17] The text does not say that the jailer believed for his family, nor does it say that his belief covers their baptism. It says believe and then be baptized, and the same goes for your household. In brief, the chronological order is to hear the Gospel proclaimed, believe the Gospel, and then demonstrate the internal transformation of regeneration by being baptized.

The fourth of the five passages regarding household baptism is Acts 18:8, Paul has continued his missionary work into the city of Corinth where he preaches to the Jews in the synagogue and gets kicked out. He declares the wrath of God to those who reject the Gospel and leaves the Jews and preaches to the Gentiles. After Paul preaches the wrath of God and removes himself to preach to the Gentiles, Luke then declares that the Jewish leader of the synagogue, Crispus, believed in the Lord together with his entire household. Many who heard Paul believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8 ESV). The Corinthians heard the preaching of Paul, specifically, Crispus was convicted by the possibility of God's abandonment. Crispus' household also believed in the Gospel, and then others heard the Gospel and believed and then were baptized. Baptism in this passage is almost tacked on at the end of the verse, not that it is not important, but it shows that all of the people in question believed and then were baptized. These narrative passages demonstrate that there was a profession of faith that preceded the baptism of the individual even when the text groups people together like households. The text is still clear that there was first a profession of faith.

The fifth and final passage is found in 1 Corinthians 1:14-16, which is leaving the narrative passages and going into the epistle of Paul being written to the Christians of Corinth. This would be the same church that would have been planted in the city from Acts 18:8. The context of this passage is Paul dealing with the problem of sectarianism where people were boasting about which party they belonged to Paul, Apollos, Peter, and Christ. The goal of this passage is to show the need for unity over division. However, in verses 14-16 Paul speaks about the people that he baptized such as Crispus, Gaius, Stephanas, and his household. The purpose of Paul's comment of not knowing whom he baptized was not a boast on his part, but a crushing blow to the pride of those who overemphasize personal connection to the individual to whom they belonged, for some attributed a mystic connection to the individual.[18] Paul's comment was squashing pride since it is more important to be unified in Christ instead of accruing a following, for it is better to work for the glory of God.[19] So the household reference has nothing to do with giving didactical information to baptize infants, but it was a rebuke to individuals who viewed baptism incorrectly. Even though infants can have a personality at a very young age it is hard to grasp that infants are the topic of this passage since it seems that Paul is rebuking believers for having individual pride which is a sin that an infant cannot process. In conclusion, in 1 Corinthians of 1:14-16, Paul is talking to individuals who have heard him preach, and verse 17 says that Christ sent him to preach. It shows that baptism is secondary, not in value, but positionally.

This section offered a bird's eye view of household baptism to show that there is a chronological order to these narratives and epistles. The chronological order of the narratives shows an explicit order of preaching, professing, and then being baptized. 1 Corinthians is highly unlikely to be referring to infants for the context is addressing an adult's issue of sanctification, and only regenerated people can be sanctified. The purpose of this section was to show that a general reading can reveal that household baptisms are indeed encouraging and more of a proof text for the credobaptists over the paedobaptist.

The Exegetical Flow of Baptismal Passages Demonstrates Confessional Baptisms

The purpose of this section is to take a deeper look at five verses to show that confessional baptism is not just the chronological flow of these passages but that there is an exegetical flow. There are similarities between the two points, but the main difference is not just a bird's eye view, as in the previous section, but a deeper understanding also shows that baptism should be confessional. This will not be an extensive exegetical examination of each passage but a brief analysis to show the purpose of the verses within their context, and then from their context, an argument for confessional baptism can be made.

Let's begin with one of the most famous passages that has to do with baptism, the Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:18-20. Many people are familiar with this passage where Christ commissions His disciples to go to all of the nations and make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to observe all that Jesus had taught them. There are three things that the disciples must do, make disciples, baptize, and teach obedience. This passage uses "going" as a perquisite and the participles "baptizing" and "teaching" are a description of how they are supposed to make disciples while presupposing that the Gospel is already being taught.[20] Baptizing is not the main subject, but a description of how disciples are being made, all while the disciples have already seen baptism as a response to convictional preaching.

Acts 16:15, is specifically a challenging passage to analyze because it can seem to suggest that at Lydia's conversion her entire household was baptized. The previous section on this passage discussed the lack of details on the definition of household showing that infants are not necessarily a part of the context. But here let's look deeper into this passage. Instead of looking at what is not provided in the text let's look at what is provided. Lydia was mentioned, but no husband was mentioned. She had her own business, traveled far from her own country for her vocation, and had the freedom to invite Paul and Silas into her house without fear of rebuke which indicates that she was most likely unmarried.[21] So who is included in Lydia's household? Most likely relatives and/or hired servants. This is conjecture at this point, but it is valid. The text does seem to indicate that Lydia is the leader of her household, seemingly suggesting that she was unmarried, which means that this text should not be used as a proof text for infant baptism.[22] The text does precede another household baptism from Acts 10; the baptism of Cornelius, which is preceded by confessional faith.

Now let's bring into view Colossians 2:6-14 where Paul compares circumcision with baptism. Many people will use this passage to argue for infant baptism as the continuation of circumcision. However, this would be an inconclusive conclusion. An analysis of the text will show that baptism is the demonstration of being buried with Christ and then made alive through resurrection (vs 12). Paul describes circumcision as pointing to something better, for circumcision did not save someone, but baptism is a symbol of salvation. A key passage here is that people should not be circumcised by unclean hands, alluding to natural circumcision being inferior, but that Christ should circumcise their hearts which is done by the forgiveness of sins (13-14). Even this passage shows that circumcision is inferior to baptism and that there is no purpose to continue something that has been replaced by something better. The replacement of circumcision is eternal for all who believe will be saved forever from the wrath of God. 


Three objections will be raised for the paedobaptist that need to be formulated and asked with clarity. Some of these objections have already appeared in the different arguments for each of the positions. These two positions are at odds so it would make sense that in the definition of each one of these definitions, objections would be raised. But the three main arguments against paedobaptism are the lack of the command in Scripture to do so, that the household baptisms are inconclusive, and circumcision is not needed. The goal of this section is not to slam the opposing side, but to pose valid questions from a logical perspective.

There are No Specific Commands Found in Scripture to Baptize Infants

The first objection is that there is no command to baptize infants. Even R. C.  Sproul admitted that there are no clear commands to baptize infants, but it is also not prohibited.[23] Since it is not prohibited, then the credobaptist cannot say to the paedobaptist it is a sin to baptize an infant. This is true; a credobaptist should not tell the paedobaptist that they are in sin, but that they should reconsider their hermeneutical positions due to the previous sections. Now to say that it is not commanded, but is not prohibited is not exactly a strong response. When it comes to worship, even Sproul agreed that the church should hold to the regulative principle where the church should worship in the way that is commanded. The normative principle is that since it is not prohibited then the church can worship in that manner. The normative principle would be denied in most reformed circles, yet when it comes to baptism the same principles seem to not apply. This brings up an inconsistency within the reformed circles that hold to infant baptism.

Household Baptisms Lack Specificity to be Proof

As already discussed the verses used to prove that infants could have been baptized within the context of the household being baptized are not clear defenses of infants being baptized. There are no explicit passages in the Bible that say the infants were ever baptized. Leading figures in the paedobaptist circles have even admitted to this such as John Murrey, Louis Berkhof, Charles Hodge, and B. B. Warfield, who have all said at some point that there is no explicit evidence for paedobaptism.[24] When people argue for household baptisms they assume two points: household must mean every individual of the house, even though there are biblical texts that use the word household as a general summary that does not include every person (1 Sam 1:21-22, Tit 1:11), the second is that every household had infants.[25] Both of these assumptions are grand and unfounded with Scriptural evidence. So really the premise of paedobaptism falls apart quickly.

Continuation of Circumcision is Challenged

The third and final point is understanding that circumcision does not need to be continued for spiritual blessings and that the church fathers are not inerrant. This is a twofold argument. Circumcision is at the heart of the argument for paedobaptism. The only passage to allude to baptism as replacing circumcision is in Colossians 2:8-15. There are two answers to this passage, the first is that verses 6-7 provide the immediate context that the individual has received Christ. This cannot be for the continuation of circumcision when the requirement is to receive Christ, otherwise a form of universalism would have to be accepted. Secondly, it was common for Paul to use the example of circumcision to be a reference to cutting off sin and sanctifying the heart but not the continuation of circumcision through baptism. This understanding of a key text brings into question the rest of the arguments built around it.


Just as the credobaptist has objections to paedobaptism, there are paedobaptist arguments against credobaptism. There are primarily two arguments against credobaptism such as the lack of special blessings for children within the covenant community and then again the household baptism. Household baptism is a major contention within this discussion, but it should never be dismissed. So this section is to take the objections at face value and understand them rightly.

Confessional Baptism Abandons Promises to Children

One of the most common arguments against credobaptism is that God cares for the children on the covenant in the Old Testament but then does not care about the children of the New Testament. The argument is the New Testament covenant is better than the old, so why would it exclude those that the first included? It is within this argument that most paedobaptists will bring up Hebrews 6:4-6, saying that a child was baptized into the covenantal blessings of being in the Christian home and being brought into the family of God in the church, but yet commits apostasy and leaves the faith forever. The paedobaptist would say that the tasting of the Holy Spirit was being baptized into the church with covenantal blessings and yet they still walk away.

Household Baptisms Demonstrates the Practice of Baptizing Infants

The paedobaptist would point to the household baptisms to show that what they believe is valid. This argument has already been refuted, but there is a subset of this argument that has yet to be brought up. John Calvin made the argument that if one forbids children to be baptized due to no explicit example of the apostles doing the same thing, then women should be barred from the Lord's Supper for there is no example of the apostles giving the Lord's Supper to women.[26] One might say women are included when Paul writes to the whole church and then speaks about the Lord's Supper, but that is the same argument the paedobaptist claims that when the apostles baptized the whole household, infants are included. Calvin's point should make the credobaptist think and ensure that their arguments are consistent with their own belief.

In a brief conclusion, both of these objections can be dismissed through a proper contextual understanding of Scripture as a whole. A credobaptist does not say that children who are born in a Christian church do not have special blessings. Being a part of a family that fears the Lord and is obedient to God will give the child blessings. Christ loved children, but the doctrine of baptism has a specific purpose, and that purpose excludes children because it is not directed to children just like the qualifications of an eldership does not apply to children. The purpose of baptism is to demonstrate internal regeneration, not temporal blessings. Hebrews 6 is just as true to the child who was born into a Christian home as one who was baptized because the warning is concerning explicit denial when the person knows the truth but hardens their own heart. Calvin's argument should make someone stop and think because he just made a great point for credobaptism. Women can take part in the Lord's Supper because they professed belief, and a child can take part in baptism when they express belief. The emphasis should always be on the professed faith which then makes the act of taking baptism or communion acceptable.


In this last section, I wanted to take a brief moment to explain that even though there is a fundamental difference between the two positions there should not be animosity between the two positions. The two positions should indeed be separate ecclesiological positions, but neither is heretical. A heretical position means that someone believes something that is damnable. Typically, this is considered to be, issues that are soteriological or have soteriological ramifications. When it comes to baptism, it is closely related to soteriology, but if someone believes in the correct theology of salvation and then holds to another view of baptism, there can be unity.[27] They should go to different churches because this is an ecclesiological matter. A church cannot hold to both of these views for they are opposite sides of each other. Baptism was always performed by the church, and the church cannot believe two baptisms. But there can be a Christian brotherhood between two churches that have two different positions on this view because neither views are soteriologically heretical. Churches should be clear on this subject and be able to defend their position. 


In conclusion, this is a very important topic to be able to articulate and defend for it is foundational for daily events at a church. This paper is meant to bring clarity to both sides, show an exegetical understanding of the subject, show that there can be a difference in belief, and that difference should be conducted with charity and boldness. Infant baptism is not a sin and should not be treated as such. However, there is a better way to understand the theology of baptism, and confessional baptism provides biblical support that baptism is for the believer. The credobaptist should be able to defend their position and defend it accurately and consistently, and not use the same flow of thought as the paedobaptist. At the end of the day, Christ is the focus.

[1] Henry, Matthew. Commentary on the Whole Bible: Genesis to Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1961, 2389.

[3] L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co., 1938), 633.

[4] R. C. Sproul, “Infant Baptism: Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at,” Ligonier Ministries, September 26, 2006,

[5] R. C. Sproul, “The Infant Baptism Question: Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at,” Ligonier Ministries, April 16, 1992,

[6] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 489.

[7] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, vol. 1, The Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), 1326.

[8] Augustine of Hippo, “A Treatise on Nature and Grace,” in Saint Augustin: Anti-Pelagian Writings, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. Peter Holmes, vol. 5, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1887), 124.

[10] Sproul, “The Infant Baptism Question” 1992.

[11] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary: Unleashing Gods Truth, One Verse at a Time. (Nashville, TN: Nelson Reference, 2006), 1125.

[13] Henry George Liddell et al., A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 305.

[14] G. W. Bromiley, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Baker Academic, 2001), 129.

[15] John B. Polhill, “Acts,” in Holman Concise Bible Commentary, ed. David S. Dockery (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 512.

[16] I. Howard Marshall, Acts: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 5, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1980), 284.

[17] Polhill, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, 355–356.

[18] Leon Morris, 1 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 7, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 48.

[19] John Chrysostom, “Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the First Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians,” in Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. Hubert Kestell Cornish, John Medley, and Talbot B. Chambers, vol. 12, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1889), 13.

[20] Matthew W. Waymeyer, A Biblical Critique of Infant Baptism (The Woodlands , TX: Kress Christian Publications, 2008), 93.

[21] Waymeyer, A Biblical Critique of Infant Baptism, 17

[22] Polhill, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, 350.

[23] Sproul, “Infant Baptism,” 2006.

[24] Waymeyer, A Biblical Critique of Infant Baptism, 14.

[25] Ibid, 15.

[26] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, vol. 1, The Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), 1331.