Can Christian Fathers Baptize Their Own Children?

One question that comes up from time to time among Christian fathers is whether they Biblically have the right to baptize their children.  This actually raises a much bigger issue that must be addressed first that will make the answer to the question obvious.

It is deeply ingrained into our modern psyche that there is a gap between vocational ministry and “lay” people.  We have been conditioned to believe that there are “professionals” who have been given some sort of 3rd party credentials that make them “qualified” to be paid to do ministry as a full time career.  And then there is everyone else.

This concept is foreign to Scripture.  Something I say often is that the highest calling in scripture is the calling of a believer.

1 Peter 2:5 says, “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  If you are a follower of Christ, you are, biblically , a priest.

The majority of the New Testament is an instruction manual that presumes you are being trained to be a minister of the gospel and a discipler of men.

One of the most famous passages in the Bible is what we call the Great Commission.  It is Matt 28:18-20, and says, “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

I don’t know of any Christian scholars that believe this passage is only applicable to the apostles who were standing there at the time.  Instead, we understand that this is the charge for all Christian believers for all time.  We are to “make disciples,” “baptize them,” and “teach them to observe all that” Christ commands.

A Christian father’s first obligation is to the discipleship of his own wife and children.  If we are to disciple them, and we are a royal priesthood, it only follows that we should baptize them as well.

I would add this one disclaimer.  Even though this should go without saying, the father must be a follower of Christ for any of this to apply, and the children must have placed their trust in the finished work of Christ for their salvation.

So that was a long way to say, “yes.”  Christian fathers can baptize their own children.

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