The Deceit of Infant Baptism and Child Evangelism

There is no easier way to dupe people into wrongly thinking that they are Christians than to impose rituals upon children which utterly disorient them by giving them an incorrect reference point regarding what it is to become a Christian.  The effectiveness of the common methods to do this is increased dramatically when these common methods are viewed as competition to each other- though they are in reality just two sides to the same coin which ultimately work towards the same bad goals.  Infant baptism and child evangelism are basically the Democrats and Republicans in the realm of misleading souls in Christendom and destroying potential for genuine Christianity to be attained to and faithfully lived out.

There is absolutely no record in the Bible of infants being baptized.  Such a practice is the norm among most professing Christians worldwide, yet there is no Biblical basis for doing this.  There is much wild speculation done, and many unwarranted conclusions reached, by those who claim that such a practice is derived from commandments in the Bible and/or righteous precedents set forth in the Bible.  It is notable that the founders of Protestantism who claimed to operate only by Scripture (“Sola Scriptura”) retained the unscriptural infant baptism practiced by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.  Men like Martin Luther and John Calvin, whom many regard as heroes of the faith for breaking from unscriptural tradition, failed to break with the unscriptural doctrine and practices of the Catholic Church which they claimed to stand against-  not only in this way, but also in several other ways.

Many modern evangelicals who think that they have distanced themselves from the ritualism and unwarranted claims of God’s grace involved in infant baptism have an equivalent practice which is no more based upon Scripture and is no less misleading- manipulating children (and others) into saying a sinner’s prayer to (allegedly) receive Jesus Christ and enter into His grace.  This is also an unscriptural practice which doesn’t do what it claims to do while also providing a misleading and disorienting reference point regarding entrance into Christianity.  Child evangelism is also not derived from the Bible.  One must also speculate wildly and draw unwarranted conclusions in order to claim that it is derived from the Bible.  

In practicality, the deceit involved in infant baptism and child evangelism are very similar, if not virtually identical.  Both of these practices provide placebos regarding Christian experience in children which easily carry over into adulthood in those who have received them  (with some more consciously; and with others in a more implicit, unconscious way).  They each obscure the obligation upon every person who eventually attains adequate to understanding, understanding which God deems sufficient to make them accountable to Him, to turn from sin and yield their whole being to Jesus Christ in order to walk in the light of His Word.  

Infant baptism and the child sinner’s prayer not only do not totally substitute for authentic repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and they do not help towards attaining this living, properly directed faith at all.  Moreover, they also mimic the attainment of such a faith, each in its own way (and the same can be said of the formulaic sinner’s prayer at any age really, but it’s especially deceptive when thrust upon children due to how easy it is to persuade them to comply with it and due to how exercising a sufficiently knowledgeable faith in Jesus Christ is likely beyond their capability altogether while they remain children).  

Reading from Luke 18:15-16: “And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”

Do passages like this warrant baptizing children?  No.  Do they warrant leading children in a prayer to “accept Jesus” so they can “get saved”?  No.  This passage is actually teaching that children are innocent (relative to those with adult level understanding in God’s eyes who are living in sin).  Children do not need to repent and be born again and navigate the narrow way to eternal life in Christ like those with adequate understanding and capability.  They absolutely should be taught and trained to prepare them to do so when they are sufficiently accountable.  That is something which their parents are accountable for, and which any other authority figure set over them is accountable for in some way to some degree.  Yet to give them experiences as children which they are told, in a direct or an indirect way, actually are their repentance and new birth in Christ is a horribly misleading placebo which serves strongly to prevent them from eventually embracing and entering into authentic self-denying, cross carrying, utterly life altering and transforming authentic Christianity.  

The new birth in Jesus Christ cannot be known nor replicated nor adequately compensated for before one is actually capable of exercising the faith which must be exercised with sufficient understanding in order to attain that new birth and know it firsthand.  Any and all purported ways to arrive at that which don’t actually bring those who take them to that authentic new birth are in actuality rivals to authentic Christianity which must be labeled as counterfeits and called evil in order to be properly diagnosed.   

Look at how the passage in Luke chapter 18 continues, and consider that every knowledgeable, capable individual before God must in a sense become as a little child to enter His kingdom.  We’ll see an example immediately afterwards of an adult being confronted with the demands of receiving the kingdom of God in the sense which Jesus obviously intended to be understood when He spoke of the need to receive the kingdom of God as a little child.  The man we will read about probably could have and should have exercised the repentance and faith which he failed to exercise well before this point (in the passage we’re about to read), but there was nothing he could have actually done or had done to him when he was a little child to exercise such repentance and faith.  He was not in danger of God’s wrath as a little child like he was as an adult walking in covetousness and idolatry (causing him to live in unbelief towards the true God and to be bound concerning righteousness- and hence a slave to sin).

(Jesus continues in) Luke 18:17: “Verily (Truly) I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

And then we read in Luke 18:18-30: “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good?  none is good, save one (except one), that is, God (this man admired Jesus greatly and wanted His answer about inheriting eternal life, but he didn’t comprehend at this point that Jesus was God incarnate).  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother.  And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.  Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing (God’s commandments received properly are a guide to walking in a living, acceptable faith before Him- Jesus is basically telling this man that there is still an area where he is bound concerning righteousness before God which is preventing him from being born again and walking in a living, acceptable faith before God): sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.  And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.  And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God (note that this would not be the case if a childhood ritual, or any ritual altogether,  could be a remedy for a person’s salvation)!  For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.  And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?  And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.  Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee (Peter and the other disciples with Jesus here had surrendered to Jesus and were walking in a living faith in Him).  And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake (their leaving in this context stemmed from doing what they had to do in order to be obedient to God so they would have a righteous, realistic hope of inheriting His kingdom),  Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting (Mark’s Gospel adds “with persecutions”- see Mark 10:30).

Understand the point which I am seeking to make here.  The Jews in Jesus’ time typically understood adulthood before God and the age of accountability to be at or around age thirteen.   Thirteen is the standard age at which Jewish males have “bar mitzvahs” to this day (though modern Judaism is so corrupted that the significance of one is greatly diluted).  The Bible itself doesn’t give a specific age of accountability, but it does emphasize the need for each man and woman to relate properly to the Lord and make the right decisions they must make before Him- under threat of damnation for failing to do so and with the promise of eternal blessedness for faithfulness.  Here are two examples of what I mean.

Romans 2:4-11: “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.”

Revelation 22:18-19: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

I think it’s obvious that there are exceptions in either direction (but that they’re rare).  Some people (and I mean people who are generally normal, not mentally retarded) remain rather child-like and innocent in the sense that little children are innocent well into their teens; while certain others who have not yet become teenagers, perhaps through being taught and trained especially well, or perhaps due to complicity with very bad training, can become adult-like in a moral sense before they are teenagers.  I believe that children can repent and be born-again in Christ authentically before they are teens in rare cases (but even then it would not be through a ritual baptism nor by being coaxed into saying a sinner’s prayer through human pressure and/or cunning).  And I think that certain children, at least the ones who do heinous things even by adult standards, will be tried as adults before God.  

Those extreme cases however are not the norm.  The norm for children in the Bible is that they should be taught and trained according to the principles of God’s Word to prepare them to respond properly and walk in the whole counsel of God’s Word when they do come to sufficient knowledge and capability to do so.  Children are of course commanded to obey their parents consistent with obeying the Lord.  And I think it’s also evident that choices which children make can do much to prepare them to walk in the demands of faithful Christianity or prepare them to live in carnality according to the course of this world (so it’s not like children’s decisions are meaningless).  

These things are not changed nor problems in relation to them solved by ritual baptisms nor induced sinner’s prayers.  Unwarranted baptisms (like all baptism of infants are) and human induced sinner’s prayers (which children are the most frequent victims of)  do however promote eventual unwarranted belief in having satisfied the requirements of Christianity when authentic Christianity has never even actually been entered into by Biblically defined repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.  

This deception is increased and augmented even more by how multitudes of teachers and churches make the beginning of the Christian life out to be the end, though they (and many others) do not faithfully lead people to the beginning either.  Other unscriptural rituals added in along the way only augment and strengthen this deception further in many, while also stumbling those who may have truly been born again and got off to a good start in authentic Christianity (just two examples of many such unscriptural rituals would be Lent observance and training to speak in gibberish tongues- falsely labeled as the baptism of the Holy Spirit).

There is no ritual which can solve any person’s conflict with the true God.  Repentance before Him and submission to the authority of Jesus Christ, set forth in His Word, is the beginning point of a living, acceptable faith in the true God’s eyes.  There are a handful of rituals which are proper and necessary to perform when they stem from such a faith and they are in one’s ability to do in accordance with how they are prescribed in Scripture.  

Yet a living, acceptable faith in Jesus Christ shuns rituals which are contrary to the acceptable worship delineated in His Word.  Infant baptism and manipulating others into saying the sinner’s prayer fit into this category- and the deceit involved in them is vast.

God says the following in Deuteronomy.  Deuteronomy 4:2: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought (any) from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”  Deuteronomy 12:32: “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”

Aaron’s email is: [email protected]