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Do infants have the faith for baptism? – “Expert” answer



The baptism of small children and infants is based on faith, according to the thesis of a Protestant theologian, in response to a corresponding response. The little ones being baptized therefore have an awareness of their needs.

Do infants have faith?

A reader asked the Evangelical Church’s online forum whether small children have a faith so that they can be baptized (Source). The interested party refers to Martin Luther, who was of the opinion that infants and small children had faith. Faith is also a prerequisite for children, otherwise it would be an abuse of the sacrament. Presumably Jesus Christ was not referring to infants when He said, as described in Mark 10:14-15:
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.“.
The question was how to imagine the faith of young children.

The answer of expertise

The expert tells the story

For Luther, infant baptism was a matter of course, according to the expert’s answer (further expertise – here). Nevertheless, Luther also had a problem with it. For the reformer, faith comes before baptism and it is not baptism that brings about faith. This meant that infants also had a faith, otherwise they would not be allowed to be baptized. However, according to the answering theologian, this is an assertion of those who claim that infant baptism is invalid.

For Luther, baptism was a “divine thing” because God himself instituted baptism and not man. The reference is the statements in Matthew 28:19:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
and in Mark 16:19:
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

According to the theologian, it can be deduced from this that it is not man who baptizes another, but God himself. During baptism, God pours out the Holy Spirit on the person being baptized. But if infant baptism were now invalid, “where would the many holy people of Christianity, who were visibly filled with the Holy Spirit, have got it from?“, said the theologian.

A strange argument

Illuminated question mark
Supposed answer – more questions

Here the expert puts the cart before the horse with his argument. As if the Holy Spirit only had “permission” to work or “access” to people once they had been baptized. Not only Luther, but also the Bible says that faith must first be present before baptism. This note can be found in Acts 8:37: “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

All the baptisms mentioned in the New Testament never involved children or even infants. They were therefore adults. So far all unbaptized. If one follows the theologian’s argument, how could they have found faith without prior baptism in infancy? It is obvious that after the ascension of Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.

But the fact that, in addition to countless other Bible changes, in the new German Bible translations (e.g. Good News, Hope for All, Luther 2017) the passage of presupposed faith for baptism in Acts 8:37 was simply deleted without replacement, should give serious thought (Info).

Small children “know” about their dependency

The theologian summed it up in his answer. According to this, small children have “a sense of their dependence” and therefore they “know” that they cannot exist alone and without help. This is very close to the faith that says: “I am not what I am by myself alone. I did not create myself, but I am a creature. I need the grace of God in order to be able to live.
This expert is not sure that this could perhaps go in the direction of what the verses Mark 10:14-15 say. The statement could therefore be: “Children have understood that they do not exist on their own. That is why the kingdom of God belongs to them.

You have to come up with such an argument first. An infant is aware of itself, feels its dependency and therefore knows that it needs help. Apparently this was a little vague for the theologian himself, because he did not call this the necessary faith, but rather an approximation to it. But just off is also off. And similar is not identical.

Simple self-experiment

A mental experiment – memories

If you want, you can try to remember the events of your first year of life, which you experienced completely consciously. How often did you think as an infant and toddler that you would have preferred to suck a piece of apple instead of a piece of pear, or that you would rather have worn a bib with Mickey Mouse instead of Donald Duck? Difficulty remembering? It doesn’t matter, because as an infant you definitely knew your own needs, considering your own age. This applies to the need to be fed as well as to starting life insurance as early as possible. This situation certainly also promoted the firm belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, was brought to the cross, died, was resurrected on the third day and ascended to heaven after another 40 days, and has since then sat at the right hand of God and as the High Priest of us all and is an advocate.

The memory of this firmly held belief in infancy, which no longer exists today, could ultimately have been simply washed away with the ritual declared as baptism using a few drops of water on the forehead and head (Info). According to the former council chairwoman of the EKD, Annette Kurschus, after baptism a person already has their ticket to the kingdom of heaven safely in their pockets (Info).

Still very insightful

Dusk for modern theology

So why did Jesus Christ say that the kingdom of God belongs to children? Has the theologian, if he actually follows the Protestant knowledge of the gospel, not considered whether this could be because children in infancy have no guilt and are without sin? If this theologian sees himself in the position of a representative of a daughter of the Roman mother church, which is fabulating something about original sin, then his stories would be understandable, but still completely wrong (Info).

This misleading answer from the representative of the former Protestant churches was nevertheless very enlightening about their actual position on the gospel. Official Protestantism has long since been buried and the greatest supporters and tombstone builders are speaking out in these institutions today (Info).

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Acts 20:29

Bible verses from King James Version

Do infants have the faith for baptism? – “Expert” answer
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