I am of the reformed tradition where as part of covenant theology we baptize children of believers. Sometimes it’s call ‘paedobaptism’.
I believe that children are a part of the new covenant in Christ as much as the children of Abraham are part of that original covenant of identifying God’s people. And even though some turned their back on the Abrahamic Covenant the children were all baptized.
I realized there is little if any evidence in the New Testament of a child being baptized. The faith of the first century was an adult faith amidst an adult society and there is no particular reason for children being mentioned. Or is there?
Jesus took the children into his arms and blessed them conveying I believe God’s particular grace upon and within that child.
Jesus told people that unless they had faith like a child they would not enter the Kingdom of God.
When we see John the Baptist graced by God (filled with the Holy Spirit) (Luke 1:15), while still in the womb I would say he is part of the new covenant in Christ Jesus.
When Paul writes that the children of believers are holy, separated to God (1Cor. 7) I believe they are part of the covenant.
See if God’s covenant is a covenant of grace and not works and none of us deserves it then children most of all are the trusting recipients of God’s love and thus candidates of baptism.
As far as faith, confession, belief are concerned they are all part of the process of the new covenant, covenant theology. No one is saved without grace through faith. Children at birth are forgiven, not innocent. They too can come under the understanding of dying and rising with Christ through baptism and then faith.
And I love the passage in Psalm 139:
You are the one who created my innermost parts;
you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb.
14 I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart.
Your works are wonderful—I know that very well.
15 My bones weren’t hidden from you
when I was being put together in a secret place,
when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my embryo,
and on your scroll every day was written that was being formed for me,[b]
before any one of them had yet happened.[c]
17 God, your plans are incomprehensible to me!
Their total number is countless!
18 If I tried to count them—they outnumber grains of sand!
If I came to the very end—I’d still be with you” (CEB in Gateway)
If this is how God’s grace impacts and surrounds the unborn then it is my humble opinion these little ones should be baptized as a was of showing they belong to Christ.
Children in the early church were part of the family’s interaction of faith and community. Most likely in the first century at least they would grow up to be believers. The problem today is that we practice ‘cheap grace’ willy nilly baptizing anything that moves. Parents who are not faithful have their children ‘done’. I had one woman tell me that her child’s baptism had to be on a certain date because the great grandmother’s dress would not fit otherwise. I have been guilty of that cheap grace, God forgive me. There should be strenuous testing of the faith and fruits of parents who want their children to be baptized.
Some ask ‘Why not baptize all children into the covenant?’ It’s a good question that could be answered in the affirmative if we sought to disciple people. Jesus said go and baptize all nations and ‘disciple’ them.
Well, I expect to hear from some folks and that’s good. I can always learn.
Grace and peace