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The Old Testament Covenant and Infant Baptism
By Dewey H. Jones
      We would like for our readers to understand that we do not write against the practices of others because we like to disagree with people. We naturally like to agree with everybody. But loyalty to Christ and regard for our fellowman compels us to call attention to unscriptural practices of those with whom we come in contact.

      "Whether is more charitable to tell a brother he is wrong or to say that the Bible is a lie? Whether is better for the brother to tell him he is wrong, or let him go on in his error and ruin his own soul and the souls of others? Is it uncharitable to tell him that a counterfeit coin is being palmed off on him? The broadest charity that ever entered the Christian's heart is that which impels him to try to get all men to obey God in all things he has commanded. Anything short of this is false to God and dangerous to men. "Charity rejoices in truth" (1 Corinthians 13:6): it does not evade it.'" (J. F. Love, Executive Secretary of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board)

      Now Infant Baptism is an unscriptural practice. There is no command for it in the New Testament. Yet, there are some who hold to it as an institution of God. Some of those who believe in the practice of Infant Baptism are sincere in their belief that it is taught in the Scriptures. They have been told that it is, and have never searched the record of Scripture for themselves. Surely it is our duty, then, to urge all such to a careful examination of the subject in the light of the teachings of God's Word.

      Some Pedobaptist scholars readily admit that Infant Baptism is not taught in the New Testament. They tell us that the Old Testament Covenant which God made with Abraham affords ground for their practice of baptism of infants. Other Pedobaptist scholars just as readily admit that Infant Baptism cannot be justified by any argument on the Old Testament Covenant. Hence when we put the admissions together, we see that Pedobaptist scholars themselves have admitted that there is no Scripture for their practice! We leave with our readers a number of statements from Pedobaptist writers.

      "All attempts to make out infant baptism from the New Testament fails. It is utterly opposed to the spirit of the apostolic age and to the fundamental principles of the New Testament." (Dr. Peter Lange, German Scholar)

      "This argument from the Abrahamic covenant in favor of infant baptism presents itself to my mind as fallacious. If baptism is to be regarded as having come in the place of circumcision, the argument from the Abrahamic covenant lies altogether with the Baptists." (Dr. William Lindsay Alexander, Scottish Scholar)

      "How unwary, too, are many excellent men in contending for infant baptism on the grounds of the analogy of circumcision! Are females not proper subjects of baptism? And, again, are a man's slaves to be baptized because he is? Are they church members of course when they are so baptized? Is there no difference between engrafting into a politico ecclesiastical community and into one which it is said is not of this world? In short, numberless difficulties present themselves in our way as soon as we begin to argue in such a manner as this," (Dr. Moses Stuart of Andover Theological Seminary)

      "I have expressed my conviction that the covenants of the Old Testament have nothing to do with infant baptism." (Jacob Ditzler, Methodist, in Debate with J.R. Graves, Baptist, at Carrollton, Mo.)

      "Commands or plain and certain examples in the New Testament relative to it, I do not find." (Dr. Moses Stuart)

      Let the reader remember that the above statements are not taken from Baptist writers, but from those whose churches practice Infant Baptism.

      The language of the commission of our Lord, if accepted, would do away with the practice of Infant Baptism. Jesus said: "Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father," etc. (Matthew 29:19, 20). And again "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned." (Mark 16:15, 16),

      The commission is the supreme authority for the administration of baptism. Apart from it there is no authority to baptize. But there is no authority in it to baptize any but disciples or believers. Hence all infants are excluded from the ordinance. Christ gave us no authority to baptize infants.

      "It may be laid down as a principle of common sense, which commends itself to ever candid mind, that a commission to do a thing authorizes only the doing of the thing specified. The doing of all other things is virtually forbidden. There is a maxim of law, that the expression of one thing is the exclusion of another. It must necessarily be so; for otherwise there could be no definiteness in contracts and no precision in legislative enactments or judicial decrees." (J. M. Pendleton, Southern Baptist author)

      For example: God commanded Noah to make an ark of gopher-wood. The command is positive, and forbids the use of every other kind of wood. Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac for a burnt-offering. He was virtually forbidden to offer any other member of his family. Just so, when Christ commanded that believers and disciples be baptized, the baptism of all who are not believers or disciples is virtually forbidden. So then, no man can, in obedience to Christ's commission, baptize an unbeliever or an unconscious infant!


[Dewey H. Jones (1909-1991) was pastor of the Benton, Clinton, Mount Pleasant (Lewisburg) and Catlettsburg (now Oakland Avenue) Baptist Churches in Kentucky and later professor at California Baptist College in Riverside, California. From the Messenger of Truth newsletter, Benton, Kentucky, August 28, 1931. Republished by the J. H. Spencer Historical Society. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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