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Question 129

Q: Should I baptize my baby in order to avoid family disputes?

I don’t think I should, but I don’t want to cause trouble in my extended family.

Asked by: Chad

A: Well, Chad, I perfectly understand your question, we’ve had it happen here many times with couples here at The Moody Church.

For example, perhaps you have married a wife whose parents believe strongly that infant baptism takes away sin, and when they have a grandchild who isn’t baptized, they actually become fearful. They think to themselves, “If this child were to die, he or she wouldn’t go to heaven.” So it’s a big deal for them.

There are also Protestant denominations that believe in baptism of infants, but they do not believe that it takes away sin. It’s more or less the form of a dedication service. If that’s the meaning of the baptism you’re thinking about, I would certainly say, yes, go ahead, have your child baptized.

Now, if your in-laws think that baptism actually takes away sin, that’s more serious. You need to help them to understand that that’s not the case. That it is not baptism that determines whether or not a child goes to heaven. I personally think that all children go to heaven when they die. And it isn’t baptism that makes the difference. Baptism is reserved for those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior, and they are baptized upon profession of faith, indicating that they have believed on Him.

Now, after I’ve said all of that, I also need to say that this is something that you and your wife have to pray through because it wouldn’t hurt your child to be baptized, even if baptism is understood differently than you understand it. But the bottom line is, you don’t want to give the impression that you think that because this child has been baptized that the child is now a child of God.

The reason I say that is because, what often happens is that a child grows up and thinks that he’s a Christian and “proves” it by his baptismal certificate. Don’t go there. I guess what I’m trying to say, Chad, is that this is a matter of conscience. You need to decide what you are going to do and to say: is this worth keeping peace in your home? Or, if you decide not to go through with the baptism, how can you best communicate this in such a way that your relatives will understand that saving faith is in Jesus Christ alone and is not in the hands of a priest or minister who happens to baptize infants?

Chad, God will lead you. I know that you’re a man of strong convictions, I sense that in your letter, and I believe that you will have His mind.

Scripture references

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