R. C. Sproul On Infant Baptism, Sin, And Patience

I believe that people who reject infant baptism, for example,—I think they’re wrong—but I believe they’re zealous about it because they want to practice the sacraments the way they believe God intended them to be practiced. And they believe it would be wrong to give this sign before somebody has the capacity to manifest faith, right? I think it’s a sin—you can quote me—not to baptize your children. God was going to kill Moses for not circumcising his son. It was a very serious matter to administer the sign of the covenant to believers and to their infants. And nowhere is there in biblical content that principle of solidarity ever, ever abrogated. And so I think we’re making a huge mistake when we exclude the children of believers from the sign of the covenant. Alright? And so I think it’s a serious matter. Because I want to make sure with the administration of the sacraments that we’re doing what’s pleasing to God. So I think it’s pleasing to God to baptize infants of believers. My friends in the Baptist community think that it’s displeasing to God. Both sides want to do what is pleasing to God. What I do believe is that we should not break fellowship over that issue because there’s not an explicit teaching in the New Testament that says that ‘you must baptize children of believers.’ Nor is there an explicit prohibition in the New Testament that says, ‘No,you may not baptize the children of believers.’ And so you have to rest your case on inferences drawn from narratives and other texts of the Bible and any time a doctrine is left to development by inferences you’re open to all kinds of mistakes. So, if any kind of doctrine should provoke patience and toleration with each other it’s something like that.

— R. C. Sproul, Question and Answer Session pt. 2 (2010 Expositor’s Conference), 52:04–103:46.

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  1. I believe, too, that it is a sin not to baptize your children. But is it a sin to delay it until the antitype of the eighth day? (And I think Adoniram Judson became and remained a Baptist without ever being exposed to this concept)

  2. Could you put a “share” button on your blog so that it will be easier to share your blog posts on social media sites like facebook?

    If that’s something that can easily be done, I would appreciate it.

  3. R.C. is one of my heroes. Truly an inspirational teacher and man of God but I totally disagree with him on this. Check out John Macarthur’s response to Pedo-baptism. Don’t worry it’s in the spirit of unity and I found it on my Ligonier app so it’s actually endorsed by R.C. himself. Another reason why he’s a hero of mine. He’s after the truth and God’s glory.


    • Dr Clark, if the issues haven’t changed since Zwingli, then the Anabaptists must have argued that infant baptism is the New Testament antitype of 1st day circumcision, in that it is not commanded, and dangerous to the recipient, but unlike it in that it does not leave a permanent mark that is evident irrespective of subsequent circumstances (i.e., if you kidnap a circumcised baby, even prematurely circumcised, you cannot keep from it the evidence of circumcision, whereas if you kidnap a christened baby, it will never know it has been christened unless someone finds it and tells it), and Zwingli must have squashed this argument in 1524. Is this indeed the case?

      • John,

        The continuity in the argument (disagreement) between the Anabaptists and the modern Baptists (post 1611) is that they share the same view of the discontinuity between new covenant and the old, they do not distinguish sufficiently between Moses and Abraham, and related to these, they both have an over-realized eschatology.

        Here is a summary of Zwingli’s argument from 1524. The Reformed are having substantially the same argument with Baptists today.

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