When Should My Child Be Baptized?

Positonal Statements

By: Randall J. Runions

As a Baptist, we have strong convictions about baptism. At First Baptist Church we are firmly committed that believers should be biblically baptized. There is no biblical evidence that baptism is to be conducted for the unsaved, infants or even the dead as some suggest. One of the challenges we face is, "At what age should my child be baptized?"

The Bible does not put an age requirement on baptism. It has often been said age 12. There is nothing in Scripture to support that statement. Water baptism is always mentioned as a post-conversion act that identifies one with Christ. Acts 2:38 emphasizes that repentance is corollary to baptism. Verse 41 states that "those who received the Word" were baptized. In Acts 16:31, when speaking of the Philippian Jailer's household, they believed before they were baptized. Colossians 2:11-12 and 1 Peter 3:18-21 are two passages that associate baptism with saving faith. When one looks at the Great Commission, the emphasis is to "make disciples" before one is baptized (Matthew 28:19).

One cannot put an age requirement on baptism. The Bible indicates that one must understand the "Good News," repent of their sins, and through saving faith trust in Jesus to save them from their sins, then be baptized. If being dunked in the baptism tank is a genuine sign of conversion, then genuine conversion must first take place.

This brings up the question again, "When is a child capable of understanding the gospel, repenting of their sins and, in saving faith, trust in Christ for their salvation. Well, it must again be said that there is no age limit. If a child is raised in a Christian home and taken to church regularly, then it can be expected that that child will come to a knowledge of sin and their need of a savior much sooner than a child who is not given that opportunity. As parents, we all want our children saved early in life and can often rush our children into making decisions they are not really making. Few children will have sufficient mental capacities to look far into the future to commit the rest of their lives to anything.

I have baptized children at First Baptist Church but have spent time with them to settle any doubts the child may have. The child must:

  1. Understand that they have rejected the world's values in their commitment to Christ

  2. Look into the future and make a lifelong commitment.

When these issues have resolved in the child and they understand that their salvation is not of works but grace we can expect to see the child want to be identified with Christ.

It is my hope that one will not make the mistakes of your pastor and rush your child into baptism. This only creates confusion in their future lives by creating a false sense of security.

Randall Runions, Pastor

317 Church Street

Po Box 161

Clifton, Tn 38425