Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Poll!! Are 8-year Olds Baptized "For the Remission of Sins?"

Does baptizing children at eight years really address the problem of infant baptism? Or does it just raise a new set of questions? Vote and leave you comments here. Baptism post to follow.


  1. I posted on the history of baptism a while back, including infant baptism. You might find it interesting.

  2. I voted no, but I think it the real answer is "maybe." I understand that eight is the Lord's proscribed age of accountability, but I think that definition is more for practicality than it is for a precise date that someone becomes accountable.

    My take is this: accountability is based on understanding. Some 7 year olds are more mature, more prepared, and have a greater understanding than some 9 year olds. In this instance, I would say a 7 year old could be accountable and could sin before reaching the technical age of accountability. In this case, baptism would serve as remission of sins.

    In other cases, an 8 year old may have less understanding, preparation, maturity, etc. and may not be accountable even having reached the technical age of accountability. In these cases, I would say that the child has no sin and therefore baptism does not serve as remission of sins.

    Another way to ask the question, I think, is can a child under 8 sin.

    In general, when someone mentions a child being baptized for remission of sins, I usually cringe....I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

  3. MH: Thanks, I will check it out.

    Jim: I cringe, too, when I hear talk of little kids committing sin. I think your analysis makes sense. I guess I see baptism of an 8-year old as a kind of bright line, after which the child will be accountable for sins. I don't really have any scriptural or doctrinal support for that, but that is what I think.

  4. Genesis 17:11 And I will establish a covenant of circumcision with thee, and it shall be my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations; that thou mayest know for ever that children are not accountable before me until they are eight years old.

  5. Exactly... I am an avid lover of the JST and the Old Testament! lol Evidently in a nut shell, they were getting screwed up in the teaching of baptism and baptizing let them understand that the age of baptism, and entering into the covenant is 8 years old, they were instructed to circumcise at 8 days old.

    Today the Jewish people still circumcise at 8 days old but have no idea why it is so. I love the JST!

  6. One of the commenters on my post above said that we put too much emphasis on "remission of sins", and not enough emphasis on joining the church. I have to say that I agree.

  7. Remember that Jesus wasn't baptized for the remission of sins, either. He was entering the gate which leads to eternal life, and obeying his own commandment. I think 2 Nephi 31:4-12 applies with almost perfect precision to children.

    I think we tend to consider the Articles of Faith (#4, in this case) a comprehensive statement of belief, when it wasn't ever intended as such. Baptism is a symbol and ordinance of more than just remission of sins.

    Stimulating topic, Teacher. Thanks!


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