Infant Baptism at the Shepherd’s Conference

Expository Thoughts contributor Matt Waymeyer will be leading a session discussing infant baptism Friday afternoon at the Shepherd’s Conference. Matt’s new book A Biblical Critique of Infant Baptism is available at the conference bookstore and here on-line.

Next week we will post some excerpts from the book and an interview that I recently conducted with Matt about his latest work. For now I offer the following from the great B. B. Warfield:

It is true that there is no express command to baptize infants in the New Testament, no express record of the baptism of infants, and no passages so stringently implying it that we must infer from them that infants were baptized.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dante Spencer on March 7, 2008 at 1:02 am

    Warfield was ref’d and subscribed to paedobaptism. In light of that, this quote is taken out of context and means nothing.

    There is no verse in Scripture that expresses the triunity of God the way we do. Should I then be quoted as saying that in the context of Unitarians or Oneness Pentecostals?

    I once heard MacArthur preach on baptism. He opened with three quotes – one from a Catholic, one from an Anglican, and one from Warfield, giving the impression to the layperson that they all believed the same thing about baptism. That was rather unwise so I got the tape to make sure I heard him right. I discovered this section had been edited out! I mentioned it to Phil Johnson and he credited GTY for making the decision. I mention this only b/c it was another case of a shallow attack on infant baptism. John was very helpful to me when I was a young believer.

  2. Dante,

    I assume from your response that you are a paedobaptist. You seem to easily dismiss the above quote as “out of context.” I would be more than glad to give you the opportunity to put it in context for us. Keep in mind that no one has argued anything in the above post nor have I assumed that Warfield’s point is merely the only weakness in the Reformed position on baptism.

    I take the quote to mean what it says, that there is no biblical example of an infant being baptized. If you believe otherwise then you have do deal with those from within your own confession who say different. Here are a few more:

    “we who believe in infant baptism must confess that the lack of any specific example of infant baptism in the New Testament is a strong counterweight to our position.” ~Bryan Chapell

    “[W]e do not have an overt and proven instance of infant baptism [recorded in the New Testament].” ~John Murray

    “[T]he New Testament contains no direct evidence for the practice of infant baptism in the days of the apostles.” ~Louis Berkhof

    “In every case on record of [the apostles’] administering the rite, it was on the condition of a profession of faith on the part of the recipient.” ~Charles Hodge

    Blessings to you

  3. Dante,

    I forgot to add that your comparing infant baptism to the doctrine of the Trinity is a material fallacy. If one follows your logic , it would appear that you have me assuming that the Trinity is not true since there is no “verse that expresses the triunity of God the way we do.”

    One is a foundational doctrine (i.e., Trinity) and the other (i.e., infant baptism) is a supposed regular practice of the NT church. The analogy breaks apart at numerous turns the most significant being that denying the explicit nature of infant baptism is in a qualitatively different realm than denying the Trinity.

    Can you think of any other essential worship practice commanded in Scripture in which we have no working example? It seems that infant baptism is on its own in this regard.

    Thank you for your comments.

  4. Paul,

    Thanks for the helpful quotes. I look fwd to reading Matt’s book. Perhaps he will sum up his findings for us here at ET.

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