Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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The Most Common Baptist Question

Brian Crossett


What is the most common question a baptist asks of paedobaptists (those who believe that the children of believers ought to be baptized)?

Probably, "Show me anywhere in the New Testament where an infant is baptized." The answer is I Corinthians 10:1-2: "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should not be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea."

But the baptist replies that infants are not mentioned in the passage. I grant that infants are not mentioned in so many words. However, it would be foolish to think that the children of Israel numbering some 600,000 men (Num. 1:46) from "twenty years old and upward" who were "able to go forth to war" (Num. 1:3) had no infant children.

Baptists then say, "But baptism is not a feature of the Old Testament; it is only in the New Testament." Our answer is that the New Testament calls it baptism though it happened in the Old Testament.

Their response is that the baptism of Israel in the Old Testament is a picture of baptism in the New Testament. Our answer is, "OK, were there infants in the picture?"

But they say that the children of Israel were unaware of their baptism at the Red Sea. We answer, "Yes, all infants are unaware of their baptism, even the infant church."

At this point, the baptist may change his tack. "Baptism is only to be administered by immersion," he says. We reply, "But if the children of Israel had been immersed, they would have perished with Pharaoh and his army. Pharaoh and his army were immersed but they were not baptized; the children of Israel were baptized but not immersed.  In fact, their baptism depended upon their not being immersed. Therefore, baptism and immersion are two different things."

The same argument stands with regard to Noah and his family during the flood (I Peter 3:20-21). If immersion has a purpose, its purpose is not to represent salvation but damnation. This is demonstrated by the immersion of the damned army of Pharaoh, the damning of the wicked world in the flood and the final damning of the reprobate by their immersion in the lake of fire.