Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 10, 1960
NUMBER 43, PAGE 8-9b

"Why Baptize Children?

Thomas F. Shropshire, Edna, Texas

This paper is a review of a tract by John Theodore Mueller, Ph. D. published by the Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Mo. This tract, along with some others, was distributed by the Lutheran church from a booth at the Jackson County Fair, Edna, Texas in Sept. 1959.

In the title of the tract, Mr. Mueller raised a good question. It is a question which we have asked many times as we have contemplated the practice of baptizing (?) babies. There is not a person living nor who has lived who can give a logical, to say nothing of a scriptural, reason for baptizing babies.

Mr. Mueller begins by saying, "yes we baptize babies", and then, "All historical churches do:" Then he cited a number of churches who do baptize (?) babies. But he did not mention the New Testament church in the list. The reason for the omission is obvious. There is no account in either inspired or profane history of infant baptism having been practiced by the church in the days of the apostles. The nearest they come to it in profane history is to state that it must have been practiced, which is pure speculation.

"The Unbroken Tradition Of The Church"

"From the early age of the holy apostles the Christian tradition has continued to our own time, unbroken and uninterrupted: the church baptizes babies." That the baptism of babies was introduced in the apostasy and formed a part of the falling away and departure from the truth, we will not deny. But we emphatically deny that any of the apostles ever baptized a baby. Furthermore, we deny that there is the slightest hint in the scriptures of any authorization having been given by Christ to baptize babies or any account of anyone in the church during the life of the apostles, baptizing babies.

Appeal To Scriptures

Mr. Mueller would have been much better off had he been content with his historical argument. His appeal to the scriptures is so absurd that it would seem that those who have any respect for the scriptures at all, would scarcely be misled. It is pathetic indeed to see a man who has no respect for the scriptures appeal to them simply because he is afraid his cause would appear weak to the people who have more respect for them than he has.

Household Baptisms

The first argument he offered from the standpoint of scripture was family baptisms. He said, "The Bible tells us very emphatically and in many places that the holy apostles baptized entire families." Then he cited the household of Stephanas; Lydia and her household; the jailor and his household; Cornelius and his household. He then said that it was PROBABLE that in those four households there were at least some infants.

What he failed to do was to cite one single passage that even hints of the baptism of infants. In those four households, we know there were no infants who were baptized. We know this to be true because we know that it is not possible for an infant to believe or repent. But to be baptized with New Testament baptism, one must first believe and repent. "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;" (Mk. 16:16). "The eunuch said, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." (Acts 8:36, 37). "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." (Acts 2:38). These scriptures prove that baptism is not valid unless preceded by faith and repentance. Since an infant can neither believe nor repent, its baptism is not valid.

Baptism In The Place Of Circumcision

Mr. Mueller pointed out the similarity between circumcision and baptism in regard to the promise with each. But what he failed to recognize was the difference in the covenants of which each was a part. The covenant, of which circumcision was a part, was abolished according to Col. 2:14. Even if baptism in the new covenant took the place of circumcision in the old covenant, it would not prove Mr. Mueller's case. In Heb. chapter 8, there is a quotation from Jeremiah concerning the old and new covenants. In this quotation, it is said that the new covenant would not be like the old covenant. The difference in the way covenant relationship under the old and under the new is established, is striking. Under the old, covenant relationship was established by physical birth and circumcision, after which they had to be taught. But under the new covenant, one must first be taught; believe that which is taught; and repent of sins before he can be brought into covenant relationship by baptism.

Babies In All Nations

Mr. Mueller reasoned that infants form a part of "all nations" of Mt. 28:19. So what? Christ said nothing about baptizing "all nations". He said, "make disciples (believers) of all the nations, baptizing them ... Them who? Those who are made believers. Only those who have been made disciples (believers) are to be baptized.

Can Infants Believe?

Mr. Mueller says that babies can believe and offered Mt. 18:6 as proof of it. His perversion of this passage is so obvious that it would seem foolish for him to suppose that even the most gullible would be taken in by it. The, passage says nothing about infants believing or being baptized. Jesus used the innocence of a little child to illustrate the innocence one must have to be a citizen of the kingdom. The one who has BECOME (innocent) as a little child is the one who believes.

Not only does this passage fail to prove what Mr. Mueller tries to make it prove, but it proves his theory of the infant's guilt of sin to be false.

Infants To Be Brought To Jesus

Mr. Mueller cites Mk. 10:13-16 as authority for baptizing infants. The passage says nothing of baptizing infants. Jesus put his hands on them and blessed them but He DID NOT BAPTIZE THEM. If He had, the passage would have so stated.


In his conclusion, Mr. Mueller says, "Yes, we baptize babies, and these are the reasons why we do so. As you see, we stand on solid Scripture ground and have clear, unmistakable Scripture proof for our doctrine and practice." It is astonishing that a man would have the audacity to make such an assertion after his miserable failure to sustain his practice by the scriptures. It is amazing that intelligent people are taken in by such flimsy reasoning. If people would study for themselves, Mr. Mueller's tract would not influence them at all.