- A head of a household professes faith,
- The whole household is therefore Baptised,
- Households normally contain infants,
- It is likely that these particular baptised households contain infants,
- Therefore non-professing infants in these households were baptised,
- Therefore, we likewise should baptise non-professing infants of households where the head has professed faith.
I have numerous difficulties with this logic, I shall explain just two here.
First, this argument rests on the premise that some who were baptised were non-professing. I believe the biblical texts tell a different story.
Acts 10-11 - Cornelius and his household are commanded to be Baptised (10:48), however the whole household was told to be saved before the baptism (cf. 11:14)
Acts 16:33 - The Philippian Jailer and all his family were baptised (v.33). However, the word of the Lord was spoken to all who were in his household (v.32) implying all were able to understand it, and further, all rejoiced that the jailer believed in God, implying again a faith in what was spoken to them (v.34) They must hear the word, then respond to it. - as Piper says, this is just as plausible as assuming infants.
1. Cor. 1:16 - The household of Stephanas was Baptised (v.16). However, this household was a household of believers (1. Cor. 16:15).
Acts 16:15 - Here is the only example of a household baptism with a profession of household faith. However, isn't it an exegetical fallacy to apply silence logic from this one verse onto the other three which would seem to contradict this? Is it not more consistent to interpret this in light of every other household Baptisms which wouldn't contradict 16:15?
Second, this argument rests on the premise that there were infants within the households. There is simply no evidence for such an assumption. Further, if we submit to the scriptures above which seem to support household faith, then in order to be consistent, it would seem that an infant Baptist has to insist on the faith of the infant.
Other than these assumptive passages, there is no mention of infant baptism in the Bible, period. Its just not there. What there is in evidence is a very elaborate systematic argument with no 'obvious' working out of such in the apostolic church.
I believe therefore that the household argument as outlined at the top of this post is not a strong argument for the case of infant baptism. It is an argument from silence, an argument open to exegetical issue, and an argument which ignores household faith