Theology

Should we baptize infants? Resources that make the case

On the evening of Sept. 27, two Reformed pastors debated “Should we baptize infants as well as adults?” (We hope to have a recording of the debate up soon).

Pastor Jared Hiebert, of the Covenant Reformed Church of Stienbach holds to Adult baptism / believer’s baptism / credobaptism. This is the belief that while someone need not necessarily be an adult (“adult baptism” is a bit of a misnomer) before being baptized, they do need to be old enough to be able to understand, and confess, their dependency on and devotion to our Lord.

Pastor James Zekveld of the Canadian Reformed Church in Niverville holds to Infant baptism / paedobaptism. This is the belief that God’s covenant promises are available to the children of believers, and thus these promises can be given not only to adults, but to infants – baptism is for babies too.

Reformed Perspective holds to a paedobaptism position, and in preparation for the debate we shared a list of some of the very best resources available in defense of infant baptism.

Audio

Baptism debate with R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur (2 hours)

Two Reformed stalwarts go head to head in this debate, with each given an hour to lay out their best case. R.C. Sproul argues for paedobaptism, and John MacArthur makes the case for credobaptism.

Article-length treatments

A brief defense of infant baptism by Kevin DeYoung
Why I changed my mind on infant baptism, by Liam Goligher
Not your average paedobaptist by Jared Oliphint

Books worth buying

Jesus loves the little children: why we baptize children
by Daniel R. Hyde
96 pages / 2006
At under 100 pages, this book by United Reformed pastor Daniel Hyde can be read in just a few evenings, and it provides a solid foundational understanding.

Children of the promise: the biblical case for infant baptism
by Robert R. Booth
190 pages / 1995
This will take some time to work through, but with short narrative bits to start each chapter, it is incredibly readable. And with recommendations from Greg Bahnsen, Vern Poythress and Douglas Wilson, it seems everyone likes this book.

Baptism: three views
edited by David F. Wright
200 pages / 2009
Able defenders of three views – paedobaptism, credobaptism, and the dual view (that both are legitimate) – make their case, and then get to interact with the other two as they critique the offered argument.

Video

Paedobaptism vs Credobaptism (6 minutes)

This, from the producer of the documentary Calvinist, gives a very brief and balanced presentation of the two sides. The intent here is to help define the two sides of the debate, rather than to defend one side or the other.

Why baptize infants? A Reformed perspective (8 minutes)

R. Scott Clark points to the pattern of Abraham, and argues that it continues in infant baptism.


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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Jar

    October 9, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Thank you for this.
    It’s healthy for all of us to be exposed to both sides of baptism. I feel most people baptize infants because that’s what the church does, and they’ve never been challenged to think otherwise… CUSTOM! And baptised children are better off than unbaptised children?! To think that would be superstitious!!
    In the Canadian reformed church we have all been indoctrinated to believe infant baptism to be the truth, when clearly that is not what we read in the bible. Wake up church!!!
    Pastor Jared You are passionate about truth and You know your stuff!! Thank you.

  2. John Moerman

    December 2, 2018 at 4:57 am

    Regarding the “Reformed Pubcast” seeking to give a balanced view of the two sides. I believe he made a critical error in there that is actually the source of much confusion within the debate itself. It confuses both paedo and credo Baptists.
    That error is this: he refers to circumcision as the sign of the old covenant and baptism as the sign of the new covenant. This is not so. Circumcision was instituted as the sign of the covenant of grace. With Abraham and his household. Baptism was instituted as a replacement of the sign of the covenant of grace… a change instituted by Christ Himself in Matthew 28:19. According to all conventional protocols at the time, Jesus ‘should’ have said …circumcising. He didn’t, thereby institution a change. A change, incidentally (actually not somincidentally) that did not involve a change in the recipients of the sign.
    Hebrews 8 makes clear that when the old covenant is referenced(8:9, 9:1) it is clear that the Mosaic covenant is in view. And it is the Mosaic covenant that is rendered obsolete. 8:13. I believe Galatians 3:17 (actually, all of Gal 3) has import here as well… indicating that the law of Moses does not annul a precious covenant. The Mosaic (old) covenant was added as a temporary codicil.
    Really, I find the debate deflates when these simple things are seen and acknowledged. We baptize infants of believers because God has told us to. (Through Abraham) and Jesus)

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