BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Hear the argument between a:
Catholic Priest [CP] and a
Sceptical Christian [SC]
SC: Fr, infants shouldn’t be baptised because they have not attained the age of reason. Children should attain the age of reason first, and then decide if they want baptism or not. The Church needs to respect their consent.
The priest smiled, and asked.
CP: “Is a baby old enough to know what is harmful and what is not harmful?”
CP: “Do you need your baby’s permission to feed him/her?”
CP: “Do you need your child’s permission to take him/her to the hospital when the child is sick knowing if you don’t do that the child may die?”
CP: “Do you need your child’s permission to enrol him/her in a school?”
CP: “Do you need your baby’s permission to save him/her from harm if the baby is crawling towards a fire?”
CP: “What then would you do if your baby is going towards a fire or playing with a knife?”
SC: “I will save the baby”
SC: “Because fire or knife is harmful to the baby”
CP: “Do you need your baby’s permission to do that?”
CP: “You see! Common sense should tell you to do whatever is good for the wellbeing of your baby since your baby has not yet attained the age of reason.”
The priest then asked:
CP: “Is original sin good for your baby?”
CP: “Do you still need your baby’s permission to baptise him/her?”
He argued further:
SC: “But Fr, infants are not old enough to profess their faith in Jesus Christ. So why baptise them? The Bible teaches that faith comes first before baptism.
The Priest replied:
- “In the Healing of the Paralytic (Mt 9:2; Mk 2:3-5), Jesus did not need the faith of the paralytic to heal him. The faith of his friends who brought him to Jesus was enough to save him.”
- “In the Healing of the Centurion Servant (Mt 8:5-13), the sick servant was lying sick at home. It was the faith of the master that moved Jesus to heal him. Jesus didn’t need the faith of the sick servant.”
- “In the Healing of the Child with Unclean Spirit (Mk 9:22-25), Jesus only needed the faith of the father to save the boy condemned to that condition by the Devil.”
“As you can see, in all these passages, Jesus did not need the faith of the sick to heal them. The faith of others was enough for them to be saved.”
The Priest continued: “You can also read these passages:
- (Acts 2:38-39): After the Pentecost, Peter addressed the first converts to repent and be baptised; for the promise of baptism was for them and their children.
- (Acts 16:15): Paul baptised Lydia and her entire household when they accepted the faith
- (Acts 10:34-48): Peter baptised Cornelius and his entire household as they received the Holy Spirit
- (Acts 16:33): When the Jailer got converted because of the miraculous release of Paul and Silas from prison, he and his entire family were baptised.
- (1 Cor 1:16): Paul baptised Stephanas and his entire household when they believed.
- (Mt 19:14): Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
So, in all these Biblical passages where baptism was administered, there is no record of the exclusion of infants.
END OF DISCUSSION.
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