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Baptizing very young children


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I just thought I would post this to get different pastors ideas regarding baptizing very small (young) children.

For instance, do you have any concerns about baptizing young children and if so, how young would you consider too young to baptize?

Would you baptize a child of five, or even a child of three years?

I ask this from a position of concern regarding a very young child's ability to understand salvation, their need for it and the condition of their soul that demands salvation by Grace.

I do understand that God is able to convict anyone of their sin and need for salvation through His Spirit, but where would you draw the line at baptizing young children?

This has always been a big concern of mine and have recently been actually exposed to it personally. Many times we see this happen when a whole family is supposedly saved all at the same time, kids included.

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I was eight, myself.

Each child is different-I have known very thoughtful 6-year-olds, who I might baptize, if they gave a good testimony of salvation, and I have knwn adults who didn't seem to have a clue, that I would be not so sure about. Its all about understanding, not age. If we jump too quickly to baptize anyone, but especially youngsters, we may endanger them from later being saved, if they were not truly so earlier, by making them believe they were. Kind of like those people who are life-long Catholics, just because they were baptized as babies. we should be as sure as we can be. With a small child we believe might be saved, maybe wisdom would dictate waiting a bit to seek any spiritual fruit.

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I agree Mike. I have always had a sort of negative feeling about baptizing very young children. In a recent instance the child was three years old. I will concede that it is possible that a child of this age may have been saved, but to my mind it is highly unlikely. I think it has everything to do with mental age and comprehension.

Like you, my greatest fear is them thinking they were saved when that was not the case. I am afraid that this happens a lot with what some call "soul winning", where the soul winner does the usual Romans Road theme and tries to elicit a positive response, at which time the the sinners prayer is invoked by the soul winner, ending with the usual, "you are saved" proclamation by the soul winner.

It all seems to me to be about a sales approach rather than letting the Spirit work His convicting power. It makes me wonder if the child would ever have come to a genuine saving knowledge without the soul winner's coaxing.  :scratchchin:

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I mentioned this post the other night and said what I did above about having never baptized anyone under 10 that I recalled. My wife told of one I baptized at 7. As I said, case by case.

In reference to a false assurance due to baptism, that is why we NEVER issue a baptismal certificate to ANYONE (although some IB do now!)

Edited by OLD fashioned preacher
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I certainly agree that much care must be employed in this matter concerning every candidate for baptism, whether child or adult, that the candidate truly has placed faith in Christ as Savior and that the candidate truly understands the meaning of (not having any saving power) baptism.

Concerning the matter of certificates -- I personally think that is far more important for an individual to receive a "salvation certificate" from the Lord, than that the individual receive a baptismal certificate from us.  I myself have noticed that for those who have a misunderstanding concerning salvation and baptism and their relationship with each other, a baptismal certificate is often presented as their "evidence of salvation."???!!!

On the other hand, I myself trusted Christ at 4.25 years of age and was baptized at 5.5 years of age.  In my own case, I have never had any doubts as to the reality and purpose of either matter.

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I have never baptized one under 10 (that I recall). Too young? Case by case judgement call.

​Same here. It is a case by case judgement. For instance, there is 12 year old kid I have not baptized yet because he does not understand salvation yet, but I have baptized a 9 year old that that understands. Case by case.

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All good comments folks, thanks a lot for your input. Now, just to throw another scenario into the equation; What if said three year old was never presented to the church and was not received into church membership? He was simply baptized by the pastor totally apart from any church service. What is your "take" on this?

I am not used to this stuff and think it flies in the face of Scripture and Baptist Church Polity.

Sorry I couldn't reply sooner, but since the recent format change I have not been able to us my Internet Explorer for any forum function. I had to move to Google Chrome. :(    Old guys hate change.

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