Why I Don’t Baptize Babies

I have great respect and affection for Paedobaptist Christians who argue along these lines. Some of them are my close friends or historical heroes. And the arguments [for paedobaptism] I’ve sketched above display careful attention to Scripture and reverence of Scripture. Yet I don’t think they’re persuasive. Here are six reasons why.

  1. Paedobaptism applies the sign of union with Christ to those who are not united to Christ. It divorces the sign from the reality.
  2. Paedobaptism confuses being born of Christian parents with being born again by the Spirit.
  3. Paedobaptism mistakenly assumes that God is forming his new covenant people the same way he formed his old covenant people.
  4. Paedobaptism undermines the church’s saltiness and lightness (Matt. 5:13-16).
  5. Paedobaptism dissolves two crucial differences between baptism and circumcision.
  6. Paedobaptism makes God’s new covenant promise less than a promise.

Bobby Jamieson, Understanding Baptism (pg. 25-35).

Baptism and the Gospel

Baptism reflects all three aspects of a disciple’s identity [rational, relational, and missional], with particular emphasis on missional. First, baptism is a sign that we have learned the gospel. It signifies our identification with Christ in his death as we are lowered into his “watery grave,” and identification with his life, where we are raised up into his resurrection life (Rom 6:4).

Second, we are baptized into two overlapping communities. The first is the divine community of the Trinity: “Baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19). The second community is the church: “For in one spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13). Baptism results in a new spiritual family–the family of the Trinity.

Third, baptism is missional because it is the outcome of obedience to the Gospel Commission. If sent disciples don’t share the gospel in the power and authority of Jesus, then people don’t get to respond by repentance, faith and baptism.

In a sense, baptism is the end of the Gospel Commission and, at the same time, it is its beginning. Baptism begins our participation in wonderful gospel mission. Whenever someone is baptized, another disciple is sent in the power and authority of Jesus to join the mission of making disciples of all nations.

Jonathan K. Dodson, Gospel-Centered Discipleship (pg. 32-33).