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Infant baptism


Historically, the Evangelical Covenant Church has accepted both infant and adult baptism, intentionally avoiding the division that baptism can sometimes cause. Examining scripture, we discover many references to adult baptism following a conversion experience, thus signifying personal identification with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In the book of Acts 16, we find two references of entire households being baptized. While no mention is made of specific individuals in the household, the possibility exists that infants may have been present.

In the second and third generation of the early church, when Christian couples gave birth to children, they sought for a tangible means to mark their children as being set apart from the world around them. Baptism became the outward, visible sign of the covenant those parents had with the Lord Jesus Christ. It was never intended as a means of saving a child from sin, rather it was a means of marking the child as being part of God’s covenant people. In this way it was similar to circumcision in the Old Testament. The means of marking an Israelite child as being part of God’s covenant people by having the Infant circumcised. Baptizing an infant carries with it the same symbolism. Romans 2:28-29, Galatians 5:5-6.

Finally, scripture gives no indication that infant baptism or adult baptism brings salvation. Salvation comes through belief in the completed work of Christ on the cross. Parents who baptize their infants anticipate the day when the child will personally accept the claims of Christ and become his disciple. John 3:16, Romans 6:23.