This question was submitted by one of the visitors to Questioning Mormonism:
If Mormons are correct that children should be baptized at the age of 8 years, why was Jesus baptized at about the age of 30 years?
As a Christian, it doesn't matter when or even if you are baptized, you do it to confirm your love for Jesus and your turning from sin and to the Lord. -B (non-LDS)
To first understand the answer to the question above one must look at the bigger picture. One must understand there is an age of accountability. Little children are not held accountable for their sins. (Moroni 8:11)"And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins." We can confirm this Book of Mormon scripture in (Matt 18:3)"3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Children are pure and innocent and have no need of baptism.
It is a choice to take on the name of the Lord Jesus and one must at minimum begin to understand the covenant of which they are going to partake. D and C 18:42 "For all men must repent and be baptized, and not only men, but women, and children who have arrived at the years of accountability." While age of accountability is not talked of directly in the Bible it does however speak of the necessity of baptism. (Acts 2:38) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. A common theme throughout baptism is the "remission of sin" a sincere desire to want to do the will of the Lord and follow his word and his word states to be baptized. Little Children have not sinned in the eyes of the Lord and have no need of the washing away of their sins. It is the parents responsibility to teach their children to follow the word of the Lord.(Prov 22:6)"6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." At eight one begins to understand right from wrong as in the example of Josiah in (2 Kings 22:1-2)"1 JOSIAH was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath. 2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.." Even though he was only eight and was preceded by his evil father and Grandfather Josiah was able to tell the difference between right and wrong.
Baptism is essential for salvation as a commandment (Matt 28:18-19)"18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." A better representation of the necessity of baptism is (John 3:5) "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." And how do we know that Baptism is for everyone (Matt 28:19)"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" One cannot deny that baptism is essential to the salvation of mankind and a commandment given by the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
But why did Jesus wait until almost the age of 30 to be baptized? One can only speculate, but my opinion is he was the only "perfect" man to walk the earth. Yet we know baptism is essential to enter into heaven and in order to remain perfect he must fulfill all righteousness. Why do we know this? Look at (Matt 3:13-15) "13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him." You see that is so that he will fulfill all righteousness or he did it so he may remain perfect and continue to walk in his perfect state. Now that all said, eight years of age is as early as someone should be baptized. One can be baptized at anytime once they understand the obligation they taking upon themselves to follow the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Just because we are baptized we are not guaranteed entry into heaven. One must follow his commandments by faith in order to gain his grace for eternal salvation. It is by his grace we are saved but it is by our works we are judged. (Rev 20:12)"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." It is by "faith" we do the "work" else why do the work at all? It is hard to deny the truthfulness of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is the key; now use it to unlock gates of heaven by following all the commandments of God. -ER (LDS)
There are several Christian churches who also baptized the children at 8 or older. The Minnonite church waits until 14 to baptize. This is done to that the child can understand the choice they are making and fully accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I won't presume to understand why the mormon church waits until 8 but I would believe it is similar reasons. As a Catholic and Protestant, I believe that Jesus was 30 when He was bapitized because that was the age that He began His works in the gospels. Up to the that point in history, the Jewish people did not baptize their children nor adults. Jesus made this a sacrement when He was bapitized, and gave that to His children, so that we can be cleansed and helps us focus our lives to serving Him. -GC (non-LDS)
I believe that Jesus waited till he was 30 because that was when he began his public ministry. John was radical in that day and age he was "the voice of one calling in the desert make straight the paths of the Lord." (John 1). He was the one who came before Jesus to prepare the way for him. So Jesus went to John to begin his public ministry. For us today, it is important to wait until we understand the full impact of being baptized. but to say you can only be baptized at the age of 8 is taking it a little far. If I don't understand till I'm 13, does that mean I won't go to heaven? I don't think so.
We are commanded to be baptized, that much is true. However, I don't think that if we are not baptized we will not enter heaven. That's like saying if we ever get mad quickly, we won't go to heaven because James 1:19 tells us to "be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to come angry. For man's anger does not bring about the righteousness of God."
Baptism was especially important for the Jews at that time because it was a matter of extreme embarressment for their family to be ashamed of them. This is what would happen if they abandoned their beliefs to follow Jesus. Baptism was a public declaration of their belief in Jesus as God. That is part of the reason baptism is so key in the New Testament.
It's important to us for similar reasons. It is still a public declaration of our belief in God. We are commanded to do it, but we won't go to hell if we neglect to be baptized. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9-10. That is how you're saved. Not by works, not by baptism, but by believing and confessing. Your salvation is not contigent on being baptized or when you are baptized for that matter. -MS (non-LDS)
With jesus or anyone else it should be the right to choose. If at the age of eight children are old enough to choose to get into mormanism, then why at nine are they not old enough to choose to get out? -CJW (non-LDS)
i believe the mormon church sets an age--it doesn't matter if it is 8 or another age--as a another form of control over the people.
mormonism teaches children are sinless till the age of 8 then they all of a sudden become sinners and need to be baptized. these people either never had kids or are deceived them selves. i have 3 myself and all are under 8 and they are sinners. romans teaches ALL have sinned, not just some. if a child at the age of 6-7 knows the bible well enough and the reason for being baptized and decides before 8, then allow it.
yet if he/she does not know the word or reason, then allow them to wait longer; otherwise all they do is get wet. i also believe that jesus waited because that was the start of his ministry. yet there is no age limit set anywhere in the bible. if more mormons would just read their bibles they would know this. please write me at [email protected] and i would love to share the simple message jesus laid out without all the bondage or rules. -RB (non-LDS)