Child Baptism (Born Again).
This is a very deep and lengthy subject which I cannot
cover completely in this note for it may require several
pages. I'll try my best to make it short.
You do not have to be at any particular age to receive the
gift of Salvation. The same Jesus who commanded Nichodemus
(you) to be born again is the one who commanded in Luk.18:15-17
Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not:
for of such is the kingdom of God
" (Also see Mat.19:14.
and Mar. 10:14.) The circumcision of all male children on the
eighth day of birth was a law for Hebrews (Gen. 17:12, Lev. 12:3),
which is the forerunner of Christian Baptism (Col. 2:11-12.).
Even before birth a baby is eligible to receive the Holy Spirit
(Luk.1:15&41). There are ample examples in the Old and New Testament
that God (Jesus) accepted somebody else's faith and bestowed
blessings and healed many, made them the heir of Salvation. Dead
daughter of Jairus came back to life (Mar.5). The sick of palsy is
healed and sins forgiven (Mat. 9). Father's faith healed son
(Mar.9:24). The centurion's servant is healed (Mat. 8:5). The
daughter of Canaanite woman is made whole (Mat.15:28). Lazarus rose
up from the dead (Joh. 11:43). Abraham's prayer for Lot; Moses
prayer for Israelites; the dead son of Shunamite woman is raised by
If a baby can biologically be born without his consent he can
spiritually be born with the wishes of the same parents. If an adult
non-Christian who is old enough to accept or reject Jesus, wishes to
accept baptism he should confess the faith first. How foolish it
would be if we adamantly try to enforce it on babies of Christian
parents or adapted babies brought by a faithful? Babies of any
origin can be baptized if a responsible faithful brings in. You can
be born again at any age.
Being a responsible person can a mother say that she will not feed
her baby until the baby is old enough to understand all the
biochemistry of the food (Breast milk) and the physiology of the
digestive system? Can you choose not to eat or drink until you learn
all the implications and complications of the nutritional effects of
what you take? Can a newly wed husband say that he will not interact
with his wife until he knows everything about her? Can a pupil say
he will not learn the alphabets until he knows all the grammar and
usages of the language? Is it wise for a patient to refuse all
medications prescribed until he learns the pharmacology of those
essential life saving products? Is it possible and feasible for an
astronaut to say he will not go on to the mission until he learns the
complete engineering as well as metallurgical effects of the
spacecraft? Can a soldier tell his commander that he will not
participate in the combat until he knows all the war strategies? Can
a farmer not to cultivate until he learns all the botanical, symbiotic,
socio-economic and environmental effects?
Absolutely there is nothing wrong if the "Yes" aspects of all the
above questions are learned beforehand. But certainly it is wrong if
you say you won't move a step until it is happened. Knowledge is
the sum of all the accumulated experiences from the beginning. Each
individual need not go through every experience personally but can
make use of them from the past. One does not need to understand
everything before or even after to enjoy the benefits. It will help
if you know the consequences. Which scientist wants to taste the
cyanide himself again?
Who would be responsible for all the opportunities denied to the baby
to receive the Holy Eucharist, because he hasn't been baptized? You
may never completely understand the mysteries of God. That is why our
Holy Fathers through their insight called the Sacraments as Mysteries.
So ultimately it is only rightful for the Church to baptize the babies
to be born again and they will learn their faith as they grow.
To be contd... Part 3
Fr. Philips Sankarathil
Detroit, USA / Oct 3, 2003