Baptizing infants

Why do Lutherans believe it is necessary to baptize infants?


We baptize babies because they are included in the Great Commission, which is a general command, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19, also see Mark 16:15-16).

Scripture does not exclude infants from baptism, rather it indicates that they need to be baptized because they are conceived and born in sin, and they need to be born again to enter the kingdom of God (Psalm 51:5, John 3:5-6). Through Baptism the Holy Spirit works to create or strengthen faith and brings the gifts of forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation (Titus 3:4-7, 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38-39). We should never deprive children of baptism, "the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit."

On the day of Pentecost when Peter told the gathered crowd, "Repent and be baptized." He also said, "The promise is for you and your children" (Acts 2:38-39). Children were included in the command and promise Peter spoke. St. Paul draws a parallel between Old Testament circumcision and Baptism (Colossians 2:11-12). Babies in the Old Testament were to be circumcised on the eighth day after birth.

For more information on infant baptism you may want to read Baptized into God's Family—The Doctrine of Infant Baptism for Today and Baptism: My Adoption into God's Family, both available through Northwestern Publishing House.


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