I have already given it. It is the very words of Our Lord, both parts thereof, taken (as given) together.
He said believe and be baptized, not be baptized and believe. Baptism is contingent upon belief, and not belief or faith in general, but saving faith in the person and redemptive work of Christ.
Without doing a full
study of the etymology of the word "kai," I will say that from my knowledge, and asking my husband and our friend Dan (both of whom know their biblical Greek quite well), there is NO indicator of time in the word "kai." You CANNOT substitute the word "then" for "and." So, the way you are reading it, you could substitute such that it would read "believe THEN be baptized." But this is not the case. You are reading the MODERN meaning of the ENGLISH word "and" into the Scripture. In English, if you were correct, we could substitute "then." But in the Greek, we cannot. You are reading your own meaning. Had Mark meant for there to be a time contingency or a specific order indicated, he would not have used "kai." That is just offhand. If you like, though, we could certainly do a more thorough study.
Evidently Matthew understood Christ's words in like fashion. For he records the Lord saying to "go and make converts" baptizing them (the converts made), and instructing them (the converts made) in all things. Matthew then, also, places conversion ahead of, yet linked with, baptism.
Funny, because my reading of that is totally different. If we are to follow your logic of exegesis as in the case of "believe and be baptized," baptizing comes first and knowledge second.
Further more, the compounded witness of Scripture as found in apostolic practice, and instruction, bears out this understanding of our Lord's words. For example ...
Peter enjoined the masses of Pentecost to repent (an act and evidence of saving faith) and be baptized (Acts 2:38). Baptism then was joined with, and consequent of, saving faith.
Philip instructed the Eunuch that in order to be baptized he must first "believe with all his heart" (Acts 8:36). Again, this showing belief rightly precedes the baptismal rite.
After all, what is baptism to one who has an unbelieving or impenitent heart, besides hypocrisy and the act of merely getting wet?
In the case of adults, we absolutely agree that they must first believe with some cognizant knowledge of the faith, which is what is exemplified by the quotes above. But to read more into those quotes (by trying to apply them to infants) is taking them out of context and misapplying them.
I suppose some clarification is in order here. As mentioned above, by "belief" (in regards to conversion and baptism) I refer to saving faith specifically. Saving faith involves, indeed requires, that one know right from wrong, good from evil. Without such inner ability or distinguishment, the person is not yet sufficiently able to acknowledge, confess, nor be repentant for their sins. Therefore, not discerning good from evil, they are not held accountable for what they cannot (yet) know or understand.
So do you think John the Baptist would have leaped for joy at the sound of anyone else's voice? Would he have leaped for joy had he heard the voice of the evil one? No. Because he knew right from wrong. More importantly, he recognized his savior. What is more important than that?! I would say that leaping for joy at the presence of your savior is definitely knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil. Or maybe it was just a coincidence.
For biblical proof that infants and small children do not yet have such innate knowledge or understanding, read Deuteronomy 1:39 below:
Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
Okay, knowledge of good and evil... all well and good... but I have posited that by recognizing the presence of his savior, John the Baptist indeed had that knowledge. You have not shown me that infants do not have faith yet.
By communicate I simply meant to express or affirm one's faith -- not necessarily to verbalize, much less give technical explanation for it. Still, since one must first believe with all their heart (per Phillip to the Eunuch) in order to be baptized, and knowing God is no respecter of persons, then one must conclude that belief must be attested to in some form, either directly or indirectly, to validate entrance into the baptismal waters.
I understand and appreciate what you are trying to say here, however (at the risk of sounding like a broken record), you have not shown me how an infant is incapable of showing their faith, considering that Christ told us to have the faith of infants (and yes, paidia can be translated as "infants")
Our friend and Baptist Englishman, David Young, has already answered that well. To which I concur.
Would you mind redirecting me to wherever that answer is? I seem to recall that it only ever came down to "well that's what I think," not with any reliable or factual evidence. Maybe I am misremembering, but I think what he ended up with was something to the extent of "we all know households without infants." My response to which would basically be yes, in 2009 we know households (which these days rarely have more then ten people in them) without infants. However, in Jewish times, when it was customary to have many, many people in the "household," and whatnot, it is really, really a stretch to assume that NONE of the households (because we know, of course, that there was more than one) which the apostles baptized had NO infants. That's a HUGE stretch. Not to mention that the etymology of the word reveals that the usage has always included infants. Beyond that, I don't believe there was a response from you or David. Care to have a go?
Nay! In no wise. For "of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14). They need not be baptized for that statement of fact to be true. Children are covered in the loving grace of our Lord.
David knew this truth, for he declared when his bastard infant had died, that he would go some day to be with his child, but his child would not be returning to him (2 Samuel 12:22-23). Indeed, of such is the kingdom of heaven.
You have rejected the connection between circumcision and baptism but look to the Old Testament to prop up your argument against something that didn't even exist yet (baptism)? If your logic were true, then why were children circumcised?
And let us note that "such" includes not merely the baptized infants of Christian parentage, but all such who pass from this life (whatever their respective age) as of yet morally unawakened and accountable for their sins, whether baptized or no. Hence, infant baptism is a needless exercise of futility, a difference which makes no real difference, a mere formality, and a non-sequitor.
Well of course it is for someone who believes baptism to be nothing more than a declaration of one's commitment to God! But for us who believe that baptism is something God does for us (which is how the Church has ALWAYS believed, whether you accept it or not), it is imperative. Further, if it is needless, makes no difference, a non-sequitor, why are you so against it? It couldn't be hurting anything in that case.
Again, children develop inner knowledge of right or wrong, good and evil. Once sufficiently developed (a point known precisely only to God, and evidently unique to each individual) they become personally aware of and responsible for their actions in the sight of God. Then, and not before, does their belief and baptism become necessary for reception of eternal life. Then, if we should hinder them from faith and obedience would we serve to prevent them from coming to Christ, and not before.
I'm not going to continue to repeat myself, cause I think y'all will just get tired of reading it. You know what I'd say to this. The question is, what do you say?
I want to add, by the way...
I can't remember whether it was you, Cleopas, or David Young who said the word "paidia" is only translated as "children." That is incorrect. It is AT LEAST translated as "little children," if not as "infants." In fact, when my husband told me that, I wasn't sure I believed him, so I looked it up in my Bible Works program. And sure enough, the FIRST translation given was "infant." So... Matthew 18:2-3
Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."