Does Household Baptisms in the early church justify infant baptism today?


By BibleAsk Team

Household Baptisms

Advocates of infant baptism claim that Acts 10, Acts 16, and 1 Corinthians 16 are proofs that infant baptism is scriptural. Let’s look at these passages:

-“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word… Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Acts 10:44-47).

-“she (Lydia) and her household were baptized,” (Acts 16:15).

-“Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.…” (Acts 16:32,33).

-“I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints” (1 Corinthians 16:15).

These are the so-called household baptisms. Proponents of infant baptism assume that there were children in Cornelius’ house, Lydia’s family, the jailer’s house, and Stephanas’ house, and that the infants were baptized.

Learning Must Precede Baptism

The truth is that in each example of household baptisms, the people who were baptized were the ones who had been first taught what they needed to do in order to receive salvation (Acts 10:34-43; 16:14, 32; 1 Corinthians 1:16-18; 16:15-16).

The baptized were the people who could hear and understand the Word of God (Acts 10:44), believe (10:31-33), and give themselves to the ministry of the saints (1 Corinthians 16:15). The context of the household conversions does not qualify for infant baptisms.

When the Bible writers mentioned the household baptisms, they spoke of all believers in the households that were able to repent of their sin and believe. And we know that infants are not able to repent and believe. To claim otherwise is to teach that which contradicts Bible teaching as shown in the following references:

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:37-38).

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:10-11).

Therefore, we can conclude that household baptism didn’t imply infant baptisms.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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