What is Faith?
Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."
That seeking of faith leads to what Romans 10 teaches ("the word of faith we preach") the Lordship of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. It is truth concluded by an unbeliever through the "preachers" of the good news for "Faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ."
The conclusion the person of faith reaches is clear and definite.
Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
We know from James that faith must have its effect
"Faith without works is dead." and "Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith."
So faith, made up of those parts, is through which grace is imparted and we are saved.
You remember this, don't you? It is called Christianity.
A number of you are nodding in approval.
Some might not.
Some who claim Christ, baptize infants.
Infants haven't got a clue, let alone faith.
But some claim that "faith" is somehow present in the baby's life?
They must have stopped recognizing the faith described above. Such a faith described is impossible to the 10 lb. sack of enzymes that is a newborn baby. They are barely cognizant of the quantities of poop they have evacuated into a diaper. "Assurance?" "Conviction?" "Seeking?" It is to laugh.
Those who choose to religiously sprinkle or dip an infant are doing, it seems, one of (or a combination of) three things.
1) A rite representing things not yet present
2) A rite accomplishing things by the magical value of the rite and its wielders
3) Or a rite accomplishing things according to the baby's condition.
Number 1 is just damp dedication, a parental prayer for the child's future salvation.
Number 2 is apostasy, being a "gospel" not that preached by the apostles. It is not just salvation by works but it is necessarily someone else's works. (This is not the argument over baptism conferring any grace to the believer. That is a separate discussion. With infants it is whether grace is imparted without belief or repentance. )
Number 3 is trying to be Christian regarding faith with any slack created by such an unconvincing claim picked up by the magic of the rite and the wielders.
So how have these last managed, given that faith is necessary to salvation, to claim "faith" in the baby?
First, they soften the use of the word "faith". They let it mean, not the individual decision to pursue and find Christ as a remedy for sin, but they mean the sum of Christendom's Faith, the creedal claims, not "MY faith" but "THE faith". They do so dogmatically for that will help distract from Scriptural objections and they become the rhetorical attendants of the conservative and orthodox. It also gives standing to those who practice the rite as representatives of THE faith.
Second, they massage the imprecision of the remaining term until, like a marshmallow, it goes from softened to taffy like stickiness that will cover any pious burp your child can be patted into releasing. Whatever assent deemed possibly personal in the baby must be vague, and that is tacitly admitting that the demanding concepts like sin and the resurrection and God are not to be expected from the young'un.
Third, knowing that they have redefined "faith" so broadly and loosely that a man glancing sideways at any steepled edifice will find himself transported by grace into the Kingdom, they try to shore it up, narrow it by developing a theology that offers to transport the sum of faith of the closely related. It is an easy belief to sell to concerned parents. In other realms parents help their child's lack and credit the child. We have all completed a late night project the overly demanding second grade teacher assigned, for we knew that our little sack of witlessness would never completely build a scale model of the Arc de Triomphe to the satisfaction of the instructor.
Our little beloved must get a passing grade! If the church tells me that I can improve my child's chances by "standing on my head and playing cymbals with my feet" then I, if I don't know what Christianity is about, will do it.
Why this self deception?
1) You love your children and you're ready to believe anything.
"Believe anything" It sounds like a parent whose child was kidnapped. Usually we resort to such desperate measures and excessive redefinitions when we feel massively threatened. Why do you think that your children need it?
Why not just preach the Gospel to them when they can understand sin, righteousness and judgment and when they can have faith as is described in the Bible?
2) Parents are unsaved themselves and/or are acting unsaved and they know if they wait until their child needs God's grace, that the Gospel from their lips ("Johnny, if you repent and believe in Jesus the Christ for the remission of sins and Life Eternal, you will receive the peace so evident in your parent's lives") is horrifically uncompelling.
3) Because of the doctrine of Original Sin. If they died as infants they would go to Limbo or some such nonsense.
This is your lucky day! These are your new marching orders.
Keep loving your child.
Quit believing every promise the "authorities" offer in defense of your children. It sounds so Hillary to say "Its for the children!" or "Vote Yes for Kids!"
Become a Christian yourself. You can experience God's grace in such a way that the Gospel would be compelling to your child.
And lastly (with fanfare and a drum roll), there is no Original Sin. They are under no threat until they sin before God and die the spiritual death.
"I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died"
No need in the infant, therefore, no need to bastardize the language of Faith.
You can thank me later.