Article: Losing the Faith (8/22)

Infant Baptism

We could find no direct references to the baptism of infants in the second century. There is a statement of Irenaeus that has been taken to refer to the practice, but there is some question that it was so intended. Irenaeus writes: “For he came to save all by means of himself – all, I say, who by him are born again to God – infants, children, adolescents, young men and old men.” From its context, it is doubtful that the writer meant to countenance infant baptism, or that the practice was known to him (Against Heresies, II, xxiv.4).

The following note may be of help with this quotation: “The context of Irenaeus’ statement is his doctrine of recapitulation according to which Christ summed up all of humanity in himself. Involved in this conception for Irenaeus was the idea that Jesus passed through all the ages of life, sanctifying each. There is nothing specifically about baptism, but ‘born again’ makes one think of baptism. ‘Regeneration,’ a different word from what is used in the passage under consideration, regularly means baptism for Irenaeus” (Everett Ferguson: Early Christians Speak, p. 59).

Tertullian, early in the third century, writes of the baptism of infants, thereby indicating that it was done in his day; but he does not approve of it. We would assume from his comment that it was not the general practice. “Let them become Christians when they are able to know Christ. In what respect does the innocent period of life hasten to the remission of sins? Should we act more cautiously in worldly matters, so that divine things are given to those to whom earthly property is not given? Let them learn to ask for salvation so that you may be seen to have ‘given to him who asks’” (Tertullian: On Baptism, xvii).

Article here.

  1. June 3, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    The English word baptism which is 23 times used in the New Testament came from the Greek word baptisma and baptismos. The verb baptize (baptizo) is 77 times used while baptist – person who baptizes, 12 times used. There is not at all any indication that the word in all its forms is used in the baptism of a child. All people baptized in the New Testament were taught of the Word first before baptism. A child much more an infant cannot comprehend and understand even if he would be taught extraordinarily.

    I have published ELEMENTS of SALVATION enumerating therein the 12 elements and baptism into Christ is No. 8. I am a translator of the Holy Bible from Greek to English and I translate plainly – Greek word to its equivalent English word. I have already published GENESIS, EXODUS, LEVITICUS (Greek-English), THE WILL New Testament (Greek to English), and other books which are shown at

    http://www.lulu.com/arseniajoaquin

    I hope that the books could help people in understanding the Word of God.

  2. Fortigurn
    June 3, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you for your comments. I agree that ‘All people baptized in the New Testament were taught of the Word first before baptism’. The teaching of infant baptism was a later invention.

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