Early Teachings Of Infant Baptism: Single

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Although many Protestant traditions baptize babies, Baptists—and "Bible churches" in the Baptist tradition—insist that baptism is only for those who have come to faith. Nowhere in the New Testament, they point out, do we read of infants being baptized.

On the other hand, nowhere do we read of children raised in believing households reaching the age of reason and then being baptized. The only explicit baptism accounts in the Bible involveconverts from Judaism or paganism. For children of believers there is no explicit mention of baptism—either in infancy or later.

This poses a problem for Baptists and Bible Christians: On what basis do they require children of believers to be baptized at all? Given the silence of the New Testament, why not assume Christian baptism is only for adult converts?

This, of course, would be contrary to historical Christian practice. But so is rejecting infant baptism. As we will see, there is no doubt that the early Church practiced infant baptism; and no Christian objections to this practice were ever voiced until the Reformation.

The first explicit evidence of children of believing households being baptized comes from the early Church—where infant baptism was uniformly upheld and regarded as apostolic.

In fact, the only reported controversy on the subject was a third-century debate whether or not to delay baptism until the eighth day after birth, like its Old Testament equivalent, circumcision!

The quotations in this tract examine the witness of the Church Fathers on the subject of infant baptism.

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