During a recent online discussion that I had with a Catholic medical doctor, the heresy of infant baptism came up.
This was my main response to him, listing some major errors with his thinking:
- Acts 2:38 does not apply to you or me or anybody else living today. It was a Jewish feast day for the Jews, with no Gentiles present. That rules you and me out.
- How can an infant repent or do “penance” to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost?
- As a Catholic, you were never baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Even your church follows Matt. 28:19: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore this verse is not relevant to you or me when dealing with infant baptism or anybody else for that matter.
- 1 Peter 3:21 is often cited by those who hold to “baptismal regeneration” but look a little closer at the passage, for it says: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Therefore not only is water baptism unable to save you, but it is just an outward work signifying an inward act.
- Abraham, according to the Apostle Paul, is a picture of how every believer is made righteous with God. The following explains how this works:
- He was called by God in Gen. 12 (New Testament equivalent, John 12:32)
- He was justified for his faith in Gen. 15 (New Testament equivalent, John 1:12)
- He was then circumcised in Gen. 17 (New Testament equivalent, if we accept baptism replaces circumcision, which I don’t, Acts 8:36-38 and remember, no woman was ever circumcised in the OT)
- So man is called.
- He is justified.
- Then baptised.
That is the correct order that God works in.
What Did The Church “Fathers” Do?
- Irenaeus never stated that the Lord or Apostles baptised children or infants.
- Tertullian states only adults were to be baptised (De. Baptismo-Baptist Magazine, Vol. V, p. 210)
- Clement of Rome taught nobody should be baptised without instruction and examination (Mornings, History of the Baptists, p. 2)
- Even the spurious epistle of Barnabus taught one is to put their faith in the cross before baptism (Wake, Catholic Epistles and Barnabus, No. 11, p. 292)
- Justin Martyr never taught infants should be baptised in any of his writings.
- Alexandra (254AD) did not baptise until a profession of faith was made (Danver, History of the Baptists, p. 63)
- Hilary of Poitiers (360), Anthanasius (360) Jerome of Dalmatia 378) and Basil of Caesarea (379) all taught only those one with a personal faith in Christ should be baptised. This was also affirmed by Chrysostom (400), Gregory of Nazianzen (386) and Ambrose of Milan 390) (G. H Orchard, Concise History of the Baptists, ps. 38-44)
- Origen was the initiator of infant baptism, although he never practised this himself (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church)
- Augustine later taught this as Catholic doctrine, with threats of curses and death to those that refused to carry out this non-biblical practice (G.H. Orchard, p. 94-95)
- Baptism of youths commenced at Alexandria around 220 AD
- Water baptism was always by total immersion according to Church historians Schaff, Liddon, Dean Goulburn and even the Greek Orthodox Church. Calvin also admitted that baptism was by total immersion (Institutes, IV, Chap. 15, Sec. 19)
- Church Historians such as Mosheim, Robinson, Armitage, Vedder, Newman each state that the early Church, up till 200AD, only baptised adult believers (Johann Lorenz von Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, 1854).
17th September 2006
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