Baptism is Very Church-y

Baptism is Very Church-y June 12, 2019

In a recent article on Get Religion, we encounter a new approach to adult believer’s baptism and thus a new argument against infant baptism:


Why do most Christian churches baptize babies?


This classic issue unexpectedly popped up as news on June 23 due to an Irish Times interview with Mary McAleese, an attorney and the former president of Ireland. McAleese assailed her Catholic Church for its practice of baptizing infants shortly after birth with parents making vows on their behalf.

That treats children as “infant conscripts who are held to lifelong obligations of obedience,” she protested, and that’s a violation of their human rights. “You can’t impose, really, obligations on people who are only two weeks old” or inform them “at seven or eight or 14 or 19 here is what you contracted; here is what you signed up to,” because they did not give their own consent to be church members.

To her, the church’s age-old baptismal practice “worked for many centuries because people didn’t understand that they had the right to say no, the right to walk away.” But she says modern people “have the right to freedom of conscience” although “the Catholic Church has yet to fully embrace that thinking.”

So, it’s about rights. I sure hope Mary McAleese realizes the profound inconsistency she’s walked herself into: do we then say you are not Irish or Northern Irish or American or Danish until you make a choice? Do we wait for children to grow up or until they understand their rights to teach them about what is good, what is honest, what is noble, what is wrong, what is evil?

What she fails to understand here is the fundamental dyadic nature of a human being: we are not individuals until we are nurtured by a family and a community and a society. No one is an island.

Nurturing is the way we become persons.

This has been brought to the fore in a recent wonderful book by Susan Eastman. Freedom or liberty, with their entailment of duties and obligations to others, emerged on the scene only because people in community learned that liberty was the best way for a society to work. What was first was the community.

Which is what I argue in my book on infant baptism called It Takes a Church to Baptize: What the Bible Says about Infant Baptism.

A strong case has been made and can be made for infant baptism in the context of a family and church. A focus on rights, which is found in the clip above, is precisely the antithesis of how the Bible talks about nurturing the faith of our young. Rights language itself is Enlightenment stuff, not biblical stuff. I could go on…

The book discusses important terms dealing with a theology of baptism (like conversion, covenant, salvation) and it talks about the importance of family and church in the baptism process, and it has something to say about whether baptism is God’s act or our act … and more…

And I tell my story of shifting from believer’s baptism only to infant baptism as the way forward.

Kevin DeYoung has a (very) brief defense of infant baptism posted at the TGC website. (I have now a 25 page paper or so for my own defense, but it will be published in the Colossians-Philemon commentary I’m now writing.

After emphasizing fellowship with many Baptists/paedo-baptists, he gives his basic approach — covenant theology.

1. God made a covenant with Abraham, it meant circumcision, for him, and then for his son — and for Ishmael too. That’s the origin of the argument: covenantal theology and covenantal approach to participation in God’s family.

2. Circumcision had meaning beyond the physical rite.

Circumcision was not just a physical thing, marking out ethnic Jews. Circumcision was full of spiritual meaning. The circumcision of the flesh was always meant to correspond with circumcision of the heart (Rom. 2:25-29). It pointed to humility, new birth, and a new way of life (Lev. 26:40-42Deut. 10:1630:6Jer. 4:46:109:25). In short, circumcision was a sign of justification. Paul says in Romans 4:11 that Abraham “received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.” God’s own interpretation of circumcision is that it was much more than just a physical sign for national Israel.

Children today are baptized based on this same covenant with Abraham. Paul makes clear in Galatians 3 what Peter strongly suggests in Acts 2, namely that the Abrahamic covenant has not been annulled. It is still operational. In fact, we see the basic promise of the Abrahamic covenant running throughout the whole Bible, right up to the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 21.

3. Colossians 2:11-12, and here I would nuance things differently:

But we know from Colossians 2:11-12 that baptism and circumcision carried the same spiritual import. The transition from one to the other was probably organic. As the Jews practiced proselyte baptism, that sign came to be seen as marking inclusion in the covenant people. For awhile circumcision existed along baptism, but as the early church became more Gentile, many of Jewish rites were rendered unnecessary, and sometimes even detrimental to the faith. Thus, baptism eclipsed circumcision as the sign renewal, rebirth, and covenant membership.

4. He gives a few more arguments, and here are two of them:

One, the burden of proof rests on those who would deny children a sign they had received for thousands of years. If children were suddenly outside the covenant, and were disallowed from receiving any “sacramental” sign, surely such a massive change, and the controversy that would have ensued, would been recorded in the New Testament. Moreover, it would be strange for children to be excluded from the covenant, when everything else moves in the direction of more inclusion from the Old Covenant to the New.

Two, the existence of household baptisms is evidence that God still deals with households as a unit and welcomes whole families into the church to come under the Lordship of Christ together (Acts 16:13-1532-341 Cor. 1:16; cf. Joshua 24:15).


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  • James Petticrew

    Im sorry, Im with Mary, I am a convinced Credo Baptist, I think all the arguments for paedobaptism start with the position that it is acceptable and then build a theological justification on shaky exegetical foundations to justify it. I think that it fails to do justice to the clear teaching on baptism in the NT. Sorry Scot Im unconvinced. I can respect those who take a different position but I am not persuaded by their arguments

  • Steve_Yellowknife_Canada

    I’m ordained in a Credobaptist denomination and so I honour what I have pledged to uphold.

    But I’ll tell you, somedays a strong breeze could push me over. It is exactly the covenant theology dynamic that I find compelling. Compelling but not convincing enough for me so far.

  • JK

    We should just let babies choose their parents, families, language and nationality. Problem solved.

  • Bill Donahue

    Having just completed and exhaustive teaching and study for several months in Hebrews, I am more convinced than ever that the Old Covenant has passed, and with it the rituals designed to enforce and mediate it. “The church” or “OT saints” never included women in the rite (obviously) and there was no corollary practice for them. Thus the arguments that we somehow must transform circumcision into baptism fall far short and seem necessary to prop up a theological system which already, under the New Covenant, seeks to drag too much of the Old into the new era. The clear and repeated use of “repent and be baptized” (or similar), and statements that household members “believed and were baptized” seem sufficient and compelling – unless we want to start believing for others (esp. children) – I am sticking with the clear NT practice.

  • scotmcknight

    Well, I have laid out the biblical evidence, Bill. Your last line, brother, is a giveaway: “clear” to whom? Not to the history of the church.

  • Bill Donahue

    I am convicted not closed minded on it – yet I would say IMHO that your “history of the church” is hardly a barometer of what should be adopted or continued – notably with respect to treatment and role of women, slavery, male hierarchy, the role of pastor as solo shepherd, the use of certain sacraments as tools for power, the handling of money, the use of buildings, and the clergy-laity divide (to name a few)

  • Rod Bristol

    The false doctrine of original sin is the error that drove people, fearing for the eternal destiny of children, to baptize them. Every command of baptism has either explicit or implicit command to believe or repent. The new birth makes no sense for a just-born person.

  • scotmcknight

    Brother, you changed subjects. You said the NT is clear on adult baptism, and I said the history of interpretation of baptism is not clearly in your direction. The other subjects have nothing to do with infant baptism.

    Household baptism, too, is clear, right? Not a sign that those in the household “believed” but were incorporated into the faith act of another.

    Acts 16:15 When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

    Acts 16:31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

    Add 16:33, too: At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.

    Acts 16:34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

    Acts 18:8 Crispus, the official of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul became believers and were baptized.

    This is not snarky, but instead insisting that what is “clear” to one is not always clear to another, and what is clear to me here may not be clear to you. “Clear” in other words is not much of an argument. I have, as I said, laid out a biblical case for infant baptism in the book.

  • Petros

    Wrt “the burden of proof rests on those who would deny children a sign they had received for thousands of years…” As a credo, I’d welcome further comment on what that sentence is intended to mean. The brainlock I have is that since infants have no capacity to know what’s going on, they aren’t being ‘denied’ anything. Is that sentence meant to imply that paedo’s think there’s some kind of mystical/spiritual substantively ‘real’ thing that is transmitted throught the sprinkling of water? Put another way, what is it precisely that infants of credo parents are being “denied”?

  • Bill Donahue

    My last thoughts… email me if you want. And I am not unaware the these texts or how they have been used to support the view. I hope you are not saying in 16:31 that infants are saved just because their parents are saved. And note “His ENTIRE FAMILY rejoiced (they knew enough to do so!!) that he had become a believer” – did infants understand and rejoice? (not snarky) – Crispus “became a believer together with his household” – seems all became believers. Does not say that because he was a believer infants were counted as such. Were they saved when Crispus was saved?…or did they actually have to believe as the text says. No mention of newborn infants here (the Bible could use that word) Unlike many of my brethren in the believers baptism camp, I clearly advocate the baptism of children (for some this is an age debate, but I do not subscribe to that view). So YES to children (ones who are “aware” at some level of what is happening and why) in the household… (mine were 3 and 4 years old when baptized),- but not infants, and I see no specific example, or regular expected practice or command in the NT to baptize newborns. You get last word..your blog. Thanks for responding!

  • Randy Thompson

    As a pastor who has done many baptisms of infants, I have arrived at one key insight about the practice. While preparing parents for the rite, and during the rite itself, more lying goes on than in any other context I have experienced. I believe in infant baptism in theory (which is another way of saying theologically), but not in practice (which is pastoral reality). A cynical take on infant baptism? Probably. But, that’s the reality of it, from my perspective.

  • scotmcknight

    Thanks Bill… well, you used “clear” and I wanted to show what was “clear” to me I knew you wouldn’t agree with. The biblical argument moves (for me) first from the divine pattern of incorporating children into the covenant (circumcision), the analogy/parallel/whatever you want to call it of circ with baptism in Col 2, and then onto texts like 1 Cor 7 and households. I’m done with that apologetic on this thread.

  • scotmcknight

    By the way, in ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece new borns were given a purification ceremony with water involved, so there was a baptism/purification by water whether one was “baptizing” or not! Not an argument, but what this does indicate is that it was natural for newborns to undergo some kind of ceremony. It would have been extremely odd to have a birth and there NOT be come kind of ceremonial lustration.

  • Christiane Smith

    ‘ . . . there they were, “by the rivers of Babylon,” longing for home’

    I was fascinated the first time I read that in Jewish tradition, Adam continued to ritually bathe in the rivers that flowed out from Eden, thereby maintaining a connection to it . . . and then I learned about the ‘purification’ rituals of the ‘mikvah’ and I remember asking an evangelical Christian if he thought that there was a ‘connection’ between the origin of the ‘mikvah’ tradition and the Christian practice of ‘baptism’ . . .

    he said ‘no’

    but I cannot say that myself, the transcendent imagery is so strong that there must be some element of meaning that ties the two together . . . although I can’t ‘know’ this, but I ‘sense’ it must be meaningful, if only in the hope and the yearning for a cleansing from sin and a returning to God

  • scotmcknight

    Yes, for sure.

  • scotmcknight

    Rod, do you have any evidence for that first line?

  • Christiane Smith

    Bill, the Church had a saying for how the two were interconnected, this:

    “the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.”

  • Bill Donahue

    Christine: The Old is connected to the New like a doorway where you enter the new room by necessarily going through the old one, but then into the new, leaving the old behind. Looking back and understanding how we got here is fine. But something entirely new is happening. The writer(s) of Hebrews says of the Old it is “obsolete”, that Christ “set aside the first to establish the second” because it was “weak and useless” 7:18; 10:9 – The whole point of this great letter is to instruct and remind that we do not drag the old furnishings into the new room , keeping the practices, rituals, and systems. To imply circumcision needs somehow to be replaced by infant baptism is a big leap and seems more like reupholstering the old furniture and bringing it into the new room (using my metaphor perhaps poorly). Unlike circumcision baptism in the NT is ALWAYS associated with repentance and belief, and never simply with the birth of a child. There is no sense that when a child has been born “let’s go get them baptized soon” (like circumcision was done on the 8th day). Every mention of baptism and households is linked to a response of faith. Circumcision was a sign showing connection to a community, regardless of one’s ultimate belief in God. It was more communal than personal. Baptism is always AFTER personal belief was expressed, associated with some form of teaching or engagement with the gospel. It is personal and communal; faith and covenant. To perform it before one’s belief is confirmed seems to change the meaning of what was practiced. Sure let’s have a special ceremony for a new infant (dedication, whatever) so the parents and community can make commitments and promises and celebrate. But I think we should reserve baptism for what it is in the NT examples and teaching (repent and be baptized), directly linked always to belief. Thus, to me, this implies there is understanding and faith expressed by the one to be baptized, and therefore not an infant.

  • patrick.sele

    In my view infant baptism (and infant communion) came about in the following stages:

    1) Originally, Christians saw neither being baptized nor taking part in the Lord’s Supper as being necessary for salvation and therefore practiced neither infant baptism nor infant communion.

    2) When John’s Gospel became more and more known some people, such as Justin Martyr or Tertullian, misinterpreted John 3:5 in the sense that baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation. From Tertullian’s De Baptismo 11-13 one can see that this view was not universal. Both Justin Martyr and Tertullian interpreted John 3:5 as described before, however Justin Martyr possibly and Tertullian certainly did not hold the view that infants must be baptized. Just as John 3:5 was misinterpreted as described before, so was John 6:53 in the sense that taking part in the Lord’s Supper is absolutely necessary for salvation.

    3) When the view that being baptized as well as taking part in the Lord’s Supper was necessary for salvation became more and more accepted, some people drew the conclusion that this also might apply to infants and began baptizing them and letting them take part in the Lord’s Supper. Those who didn’t hold these views nevertheless didn’t object to them, as they may have thought that if such practices are of no use, they don’t do any harm, either. Following the principle “better to be safe that to be sorry”, Christian parents may have been very keen on getting their children baptized and having them take part in the Lord’s Supper, and so these practices gained widespread acceptance.

  • Christiane Smith

    Hello Bill,
    I hope I don’t confuse you with this reply, or in any way confront you as that is not my intention, so forgive if my communication skills are not as clear as I would have them be.
    I think there is some danger of too strongly separating the Old Testament from the New that in this was tried in the early days of the Church and the result was to dismiss and reject the Old Testament in favor of the New Testament which was seen to have ‘replaced’ it. The early Church was quick to address the early forms of ‘dualistic’ teaching and to condemn it.

    But I would not like to focus on that for your sake. nstead, It might help for you to look at the ‘liturgy’ of the more traditional Churches in how they collect the Gospel and the readings from the OT together for public worship. These ‘readings’ in the liturgy show how much there was a ‘fore-shadowing’ of the coming of a Redeemer. The readings are especially effective at the time of Christmas when Isaiah is read aloud for services during the Advent period. I can recommend for you the Book of Common Prayer as a liturgical example. It is CofE (Anglican)/ Episcopalian. The Catholic liturgies are also combining the OT and the NT arranging readings in accordance with the Church Year (the celebrations of the Church including Christmas and Easter)

    In these liturgical readings, you may rediscover for yourself something that you must find on your own in order to reconnect yourself to the meaning of ‘testament’ . . . . I wish you well and hope you will take another look. If nothing more, you can get a glimpse of why the wider Church values the OT as an active ‘testament’ also.
    God Bless.

  • patrick.sele

    “For awhile circumcision existed along baptism, but as the early church became more Gentile, many of Jewish rites were rendered unnecessary, and sometimes even detrimental to the faith. Thus, baptism eclipsed circumcision as the sign renewal, rebirth, and covenant membership.”

    To me this is quite an implausible view. On the one hand, Gentile Christians were not obliged to get circumcised (see Acts 15:1-35, Gal 2:1-10, 5:1-12, 6:12-15). On the other hand, if Jewish Christians had abandoned circumcision they would have ceased to be JEWISH Christians. So it is very unlikely that there was a smooth transition in this respect.

  • patrick.sele

    In my view the ritual that comes closest to Christian baptism and might have been most likely been connected with it by Jews is John the Baptist’s baptism. After all, according to John 3:22-30 the disciples of Jesus baptized alongside John the Baptist. Moreover, both John the Baptist’s baptism and Christian baptism were closely connected to repentance. Now the question is whether or not John the Baptist baptized infants. If he didn’t it seems to me quite plausible that the early Christians didn’t as well.

  • patrick.sele

    To the view that the early Christians didn’t practice infant baptism points the fact that in the early third century in the writing “On Baptism” Tertullian argued that infants should not be baptized. Now if by then infant baptism had been a well established custom that was regarded as going back to the time of the apostles, it would be quite strange that a well-respected Christian author would make such a suggestion and, moreover, that nobody would raise objections against it. In my view this only makes sense if one assumes that by then infant baptism was a rather recent custom. My assumption is that it came about in the second half of the second century. A parallel development may have taken place with respect to the Lord’s supper. Whereas in the middle of the second century Justin Martyr wrote that only believers were allowed to take part in it, a hundred years later Cyprian of Carthage took the custom of infant communion for granted, and this custom seems to have been universal in the Ancient Church, and, in fact, is still practiced in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

  • patrick.sele

    As for the view that baptism of infants was meant to include them in the New Covenant community just as the circumcision of infants was meant to include these infants in the Old Covenant, those who hold this view reject baptismal regeneration. But if baptism has no regenerative effect, of what benefit is it to the infant? After all, membership in a covenant is meant to have a benefit for the respective member.

  • Rod Bristol

    Like many before and since, the “Church Fathers” sought certain answers to questions not clearly answered in scripture. Their rhetorical skills and reputations gave weight to the answers they developed, which many have taken as gospel truth.

    Irenaeus indicated infant baptism in _Against Heresies Vol II_, Chap XXII: “For He came to save all through means of Himself—all, I say, who through Him are born again to God—infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men. He therefore passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, thus sanctifying infants; a child for children, thus sanctifying those who are of this age, being at the same time made to them an example of piety, righteousness, and submission; a youth for youths, becoming an example to youths, and thus sanctifying them for the Lord. So likewise He was an old man for old men…” By “old man,” Irenaeus meant that Jesus was 50 years old at his death, as noted in his title of Chapter XXII and as he explained throughout the chapter. It seems to me that Irenaeus is equally credible (or NOT!) on both points.

    Augustine and others took Irenaeus’ notion of the tendency to sin deriving from Adam farther and farther, until some assert total depravity as the freshly-born character of a human being. The person Jesus chose to hear the need to be born again was a well-educated, high-status, known-righteous, adult man. Jesus said that little children exemplified those to whom the Kingdom of Heaven belongs. The musings of Irenaeus and later luminaries others have fostered a mystical, ceremonial parody of the gospel of Christ.

  • JohnM

    At birth a person is Irish or Northern Irish or American or Danish by virtue of parentage or place of birth, apart from any choice either they *or their parents* make as to their nationality. Danish or Irish parentage may make a child Danish or Irish, but baptism does not make the child a Christian.

  • patrick.sele

    “McAleese realizes the profound inconsistency she’s walked herself into: do we then say you are not Irish or Northern Irish or American or Danish until you make a choice?”

    In my view this analogy is seriously flawed. Unlike having a specific citizenship being a Christian includes striving to live according to specific beliefs, and this definitely requires a choice.

    “What she fails to understand here is the fundamental dyadic nature of a human being: we are not individuals until we are nurtured by a family and a community and a society. No one is an island.”

    One can become a Christian without growing up in a predominantly Christian society or being raised in a Christian family or being a member of a Church community.

  • tovlogos

    Excellent, Scott — I wouldn’t baptize my sons in water as infants — that vital ‘declaration’ to follow the Son of God
    comes from the heart through John 3:3 regardless of temporal exercises. Thus I can even more so make the case against Infant Baptism.
    Will the Spirit be in the presence of a fellowship in the name of Jesus? Yes. Will anyone be saved from that experience? Perhaps.
    They will be saved when the reality of God hits them…they comprehend and relish the idea like the mind boggling thing that could ever happen
    to a human being — they are saved… When Joshua said:
    Joshua 24:15:
    15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods
    your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household,
    we will serve the Lord.” Obviously he didn’t intend to suggest that no matter what anyone did they were automatically saved.

    So, what Baptism pans out to be is — no, it’s not necessary but you must do it — and in view of John 6:63, it’s even more puzzling. I draw the conclusion
    that ritual baptism may serve people, somehow, but God is another story. We know that God always sees ahead, and He is interested in
    Romans 10:9, in due time. Meanwhile, ” Proverbs 22:5-6: …Thorns and snares lie on the path of the perverse; he who guards his soul stays far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. That’s where God’s work comes in…much more challenging than another ritual even if the Holy Spirit is in the midst…someone may be saved that day based on the persuasion of his/her heart. Since ignorance of sin is not held against a person, assuming he repents…Lev.5:17. Even more so what sin could an infant commit? (cf. Matthew 19:14)

  • ounbbl

    Much ado about nothing. The whole thing depends on what is meant by ‘baptism’. Baptism by church may not be same as baptism in the New Testament.
    If you like church baptism, why not. You only have to know what it means and why. [Note: there is no such thing as ‘infant baptism’ per se in the Bible. They may do, but not because it is in the Bible. If you don’t like, don’t bother.]

  • Barrie Beaumont

    Scott I believe you are merely attempting to justify your Anglican beliefs and it is a long stretch if ever there was one. I was baptised at twelve in a Baptist Church because I was encouraged to do so by my mother. I saw the world from the other side from my twenties onwards,and, at 63, I had a believers baptism. There is a world of difference Scott and I believe your Biblical references are selected to justify your beliefs.

  • Realist1234

    To be fair I think we all do that!

  • Realist1234

    I have mixed feelings on infant baptism, and the correspondence with circumcision is obviously limited as that only ever applied to men. But on balance Id probably agree with it. But the problem is, so many churches, perhaps especially of the Anglican ilk, baptise babies of parents who often are not believers themselves. They may mouth the words at the ceremony, but they are largely meaningless. My own minister would have argued it should be open to all as the families are being given the opportunity of experiencing a church. Ok but it seems that very, very few subsequently return.

    Sadly, in the UK at least, it has become a tradition, like going to church on Christmas Day, with little to no meaning of what it actually signifies.

  • Realist1234

    I think it’s a fair analogy. The main point being becoming a citizen of a particular country and being assigned a specific nationality from birth with all the responsibilities and rights which that entails (eg to keep the laws of that country etc), involves no freedom to choose for the individual. They simply ‘are’ and can only change it in certain circumstances. Noone seems to have a problem with that, including McAleese, who seems to have a very blinkered view of reality. Sadly i see she’s been appointed to my old alma mater.

  • patrick.sele

    The difference between keeping the laws of a country on the one hand and loving God and loving one’s neighbour, which, according to Jesus, are the most important commands, on the other hand is that the former can be enforced, whereas the latter cannot. But if being a Christian is something that cannot be enforced, unless one wants to argue that being a Christian doesn’t include loving God and loving one’s neighbour one cannot be a Christian unless one chooses to be such a person.

  • Realist1234

    I take your point, but then simply being baptised does not make one a Christian. At least for infant baptism, it is more about welcoming into the church. Indeed the onus is on the parents & family to bring up the child in a Christian way, but as I said elsewhere it would seem in many cases the parents themselves are not Christians and have their kids ‘christened’ out of tradition. I do not think that is appropriate.

  • Grainne

    Circumcision was only for males. There is a clear break after Jesus fulfilled the law and inaugurated the New Covenant. Tribalism and group think ended as each person now repents and believes regardless of race, social position or gender.

  • Jim Dixon

    Hello Scott, Greetings in Jesus. but why did you leave out verse32 of Acts 16 which says that Paul and Silas spoke the Word of the Lord to him and all who were in his house ( before they were baptised)
    Also verse 34 surely implies at least that all his household believed and rejoiced. I don’t think it’s healthy to to assume that this included infants. Surely doctrines can not be beased on assumptions. No adding to the word.

    Acts 18:8 says Crispus and his household BELIEVED which is wonderful but no specific mention of him or them being baptised,( I’m not saying they weren’t of course) but it clearly say they all believed.,Then the verse continues to show that the order among the many Corinthians who became believers was 1. They heard 2. they believed 3. They were baptised.
    Surely Crispus and his household are in that context.

    God bless you brother

  • jc

    belief is a requisite for baptism. Babies are innocent and cannot believe. Belief is premised on knowing.