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Conversion Of Lydia – Truth vs. Assumption 

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In Acts 16 a certain woman named Lydia, who was meeting with a group of women by the riverside, where Paul was preaching, was listening (Acts 16: 13-14). “The Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.” It is obvious that God “opened the heart” of Lydia through the preaching of the gospel, because she was “listening to the things spoken by Paul.” Verse 15 says: “And when she was baptized, and her household” (v. 15). Thus, Lydia and her household heard the Word of God, and the Word of God touched their heart, and faith was produced, and obedience followed. Calvinists use this verse to prove their doctrine of the “direct operation of the Holy Spirit” on the heart of the alien sinner. They believe that one is born in sin, and is unable to respond to the gospel until the Holy Spirit performs a miracle on his heart. But it is clear that Lydia listened attentively to Paul BEFORE her heart was opened, and it was the preached Word of God that God used to open her heart. 

The assumption is, that these verses also prove infant baptism. It is explained like this: Lydia’s household was also baptized, and it is assumed that surely there was at least one infant in Lydia’s household. Albert Barnes, in his Notes on Acts, p. 241, said the following: “No mention is made of Lydia’s household having believed, and the case is one that affords a strong presumptive proof that this was an instance of “household” or “infant” baptism for: (1) Her (Lydia’s) “believing” is particularly mentioned. (2) It is not intimated that “they (her household) believed”. (3) It is manifestly implied that “they (her household) were baptized because “she (Lydia) believed”. It was the offering of her family to the Lord. It is just such an account as would now be given of a household or family that were “baptized on the faith of the parent.” Wow! Talk about presumption!


It is assumed that Lydia was married, and had children, and at least one of her children was an infant, and it is assumed that her infant was baptized as were the others in her household, in spite of the fact that everywhere in the New Testament that one must believe before being baptized (Acts 2: 37,38; 8: 36-38; Mk. 16: 16). That is a lot of assumptions. Allow a person to assume whatever he wishes, and he can “prove” anything! That is not the way to discover truth. Think on these things.


Dennis Abernathy 

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