Unlawful Baptism

We just got through 1 Samuel in our home church bible plan. It ended with the death of Saul. His is a story of an incredible rise to fame, pride, and irrational fear. It ultimately ended with him taking his own life. Tragic. What I wanted to talk about was something that hit me as I read all this, the idea of unlawful baptism.

In my opinion, baptism is intended for genuine, born-again believers. You can read my thoughts on that here. There was an interesting debate between R.C. Sproul and Alistair Begg a few years ago in which R.C. laid out his rational for infant baptism. No, it was not for salvation. By and large, however, many denominations perform infant baptisms as the rite of actual salvation. Certainly, each has its own nuances. Many congregations have been assured that scoundrels are now in heaven simply because they were baptized as infants.

Saul’s Unlawful Sacrifice

You might recall early in Saul’s reign, he was to go out to fight the Philistines. Samuel was to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, but was did not come on the appointed time. Saul, in his impatience and pride, made the burnt offering himself. Upon his arrival, Samuel declared:

And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
1 Samuel 13:13-14

This was a really big deal. We may find it hard to understand, but that is only because we have little regard for God’s law. We are like Saul, but we should be like Samuel. God rightfully took Saul’s kingdom away.

Unlawful Baptism

Out of nowhere, it hit me that infant baptism is exactly the same thing as Saul’s unlawful sacrifice. Both are doing a ritual to gain God’s favor, so, in a sense, that’s good. The problem is WHO is performing the act. Samuel, a priest, was the only one allowed by God to make a burnt sacrifice offering. God is the only one who performs the miracle of salvation. Priests and pastors cannot.

This is no small issue. In fact, it is huge. If God tore the kingdom from Saul because of his unlawful sacrifice, how can we assume that God will not do the same against all the churches who perform an unlawful baptism? Think hard about this. Two verses come to mind.

I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.
Isaiah 42:8
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
John 10:1

Adult baptism is an public act to show that God has performed the miracle of salvation. Infant baptism is a human attempt to ESTABLISH salvation. In it, the priest/congregation takes God’s glory for their own action. They attempt to enter the sheepfold by another way. These are thieves and robbers. They are not children of God.

Father, thank you for yet another reason to reject infant baptism. Amen.

Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers

Leave a Reply