Problem passages for Baptists
- Acts 2.39 says the promise of salvation is “for you and your children” (sounds similar to circumcision)– Simply read the text. It is a conditional promise. If you repent and are baptized (if you display your faith in Christ through repentance, in other words), you will receive forgiveness and the Holy Spirit. That does apply to you and your children. Plus, the promise is for “you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” It is all God’s elect people in every nation whom this applies to. Not really a problem passage at all.
- Acts 16.13-15, Acts 16.33, and 1 Corinthians 1.16 all refer to whole households being baptized (if I see a basic continuity in Scripture, it follows that the households includes the baptism of infants, if there were indeed infants)– All Presbyterians would assume that each household had infants. I could just as well assume each household did not have infants. Or I could just as well assume each “household” refers to every adult, every believing child, and every believing servant, minus infants who are not able to decide to be baptized. These passages do not settle the issue; they are only fodder for whatever you already believe before coming to these passages.
- 1 Corinthians 7.14 refers to the children of believers being sanctified (It would fit really nicely to see baptized children as being holy/set apart from the world by parents, while pagan children are not)– Though this is a difficult passage to understand, it simply does not state that the sanctification of children is connected to their infant baptism. Otherwise, you would have to argue that the sanctification of an unbelieving spouse was also connected to a baptism. This passage simply is not making any connections to baptism.
- Ephesians 6.1 commands children to obey parents (no distinction is made between believing and unbelieving children; no distinction between children we see as part of the Church, and those we do not; perhaps it is because every child in the church is baptized, and therefore a part of the church automatically)– This is a good argument, but still a text that you come to already believing something about baptism. This verse does not settle the issue. I am a pastor at a Baptist Church, and I would tell all children in our church– baptized or unbaptized– to obey their parents in the Lord.
I am open to hearing from anyone about more “problem passages” for Baptists. But the problem passages for Presbyterians are much harder to deal with (next post).