Eastern Orthodox/Infant Baptism
In speaking with a Calvinist Protestant how should I answer him when he states that infant baptisms causes "confusion" in the church to who is really saved when the infants have reached adulthood and that infant baptism is not a replacement for circumcision because that ritual in the Old Testament was not a saving covenant but an ethnic one. On top of this he points to the spiritual state of Europe today. How many of those generations of Catholics and Lutherans being baptized as infants never having a true born-again experience in their adult lives. From his perspective one can see Europe can not be a Christian continent.
When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, they did not ask their children if they wanted to go, nor did they wait until their children were of a certain age before they took them with them. All the People of God crossed the Red Sea, even the infants. Didn't God command them to circumcise each male child on the eighth day after birth? Did they wait until they could decide for themselves?
I assume that even Calvinists treat the Holy Apostle Paul as an authority and would not argue against him? Paul often compares baptism to the crossing of the Red Sea and he specifically calls baptism the new circumcision. Would your friend call Paul a liar? Why then, would the first Christians, who were Jews, not think in a similar manner about baptism? As a matter of fact, Holy Scripture supports this. In the Acts of the Apostles, when Paul and Silas are rescued from prison, the jailer decides to be baptized along with ALL his family. This probably included his children (Acts 16:25-34).
Does not our Lord say to allow the children to come to Him? (Matthew 19:14) In an Orthodox baptism, a Godparent speaks for the child, and that Godparent has the responsibility to make sure the child is raised to fulfill the vows made at the child's baptism, since in the early Church there was always the danger that the parents might be killed for their beliefs, so that someone would be there to ensure the children were raised to know their Faith.
Like circumcision for the Jews, baptism is the "initiation" into membership in the People of God. Without baptism, there is no Eucharist. Why would we not want the blessings of the Body and Blood of Christ for our children? Why would we want to not allow our children to approach Christ, even as He commands?
More information on why we baptize infants can be found at this website:
Salvation is still our choice, one we must make every single day, with every decision we make, with every action we take, whether or not to honor that baptism and follow Christ.