MAILBOX , GOD'S MESSAGE
BEING BORN TO and raised in the dominant religion in our country, I find it surprising to find out that my classmate, who is a member of your Church since birth, did not receive baptism when he was an infant. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't biblical verses like Luke 18:15 and Matthew 19:13 prove that Christ Himself demonstrated that infants or little children should be baptized?Name withheld upon sender's request
The verses you mentioned state, thus:
"Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them." (Luke 18:15, New King James Version)
"Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them." (Matt. 19:13, Ibid.)
Notice what Christ did to the infants or young children who were brought to Him—He laid His hands on and prayed for them. This is not baptism and is different from what is done to one who is baptized (Matt. 3:13-16 [13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15 Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.]; Acts 8:36-38 [36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.]).
Baptism is not for infants, but for those who have been taught the gospel and believed in it as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught:
"And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned'." (Mark 16:15-16, NKJV)
Having no capacity to understand yet, infants and little children can not believe in the gospel. Faith or belief in the gospel is attained by listening to the message as preached by the messenger sent by God (Rom. 10:17 [17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.], 14-15 [14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"]). For the listener to have genuine faith, he should have the faculty to comprehend and believe, which infants do not have. Hence, infants should not be baptized.
Thus, in the Church of Christ today, infants are dedicated to God through prayer as set by the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the very verses that you cited: "Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them, but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these' When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there." (Matt. 19:13-15, New International Version)
But, when they grow up and reach the age of 12, Iglesia ni Cristo children are given instructions in biblical doctrines and then baptized, in consonance with the Lord's command that all those who are made disciples shall be baptized (Matt. 28:19 [19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,]).
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