Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People
Hi Nick: Appreciate your reply. Actually, there are dozens of examples but for the sake of brevity... let's just focus on the actual scripture we are discussing. Does not Peter precede the act of baptism with the statement, "repent!" How does an infant or small child understand sin, forgiveness, the need for a Savior, grace, a relationship with Jesus... etc? These are only possible with a mind that has grown in cognitive maturity.
Thanks for your reply Nick: You stated, "The easy response would be “Can you prove there “would not” have been infants and toddlers?” But that gets us nowhere." Actually, if we believe what the scripture states it does get us somewhere... to the answer. In chapter 2 it states in Acts 2:5 (KJV) " And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven." The Greek word for men is "aner" which in context means an adult male, husband or someone called "sir." How else is "aner" used? How about Matthew 14:21 (NKJV) "Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men (ANER), besides women and children." So here you see that "aner" is specifically talking about adult men... not including woman and children. In Acts 2 these individuals came from all over the Roman Empire. Traveling was very long, extremely dangerous and expensive. This was a pilgrimage journey to Jerusalem. I will respond to your other comments as I get some time.
Part 3 - When you state, “So when it says Children, Household or Family there would have been infants and toddlers.” Can you prove there “would” have been infants and toddlers? Do I believe that 3000 were baptized on that day, and it didn’t include children? Yes, because most people present had travelled to Jerusalem to observe the High Day of Pentecost. There were many thousands, upon thousands of adult Jews there on pilgrimage from all over the Roman Empire.
Baptism is not about an “Age of Accountably” it is about having cognitive maturity, and being responsible enough to understand what sin is… what repentance is… what baptism means and represents…what a lifetime commitment is. To expect this of an infant or child is to demean the biblical meaning of baptism into a token ritual. Again, thank you Nick for your comments and for the scriptures to review. If you find any other scriptures in the New Testament that you believe supports infant, or child baptism please pass them on to me.
Part 2 - The scripture you quote in Acts 16:15 is regarding the household of Lydia being baptized along with her. This is from the Greek word “oikos” meaning dwelling or home. It doesn’t say children, it says household. My household is composed of two adults. It may have been her servants, or parents or siblings. You are simply assuming it also included children. It does not say children, and also does not use the same Greek word we read earlier in Acts 2:38 for children which is (Greek “teknon”). The word “family” can include many variations with or without children. In the Roman Empire many family’s existed that did not have infants or children just like today in our modern world.
The scripture in Acts 16:32 is the same as we have just discussed. Yes, the entire family of the jailer was baptized. You are implying that this would have included children. The scripture does not say children, the Greek word used does not say children, it states “family.”
Thank you Nick for your comments and perspective. I appreciate you expressing your views and taking the time to respond. I would like to respond to your comments. Since there is a word limitation on each response, I may need to respond in a few separate messages.
Your first reference in Acts 2:38 is taking the scripture out of context. The “promise” to you and your children (Greek “teknon”) is not baptism, it is the divine announcement (Greek- “epaggelia”) of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32. Notice that he does not say "this promise" but "the promise." If Peter was referring to baptism as the promise, he would have said "this promise." To imply that this scripture is encouraging baptism for children is to misapply the promise made by the prophet Joel that had just been fulfilled.