Justin Martyr - Credobaptist?

JohnOwenFan

Puritan Board Freshman
First Apology, Chapter 61 - https://ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01/anf01.viii.ii.lxi.html

In the second half of this chapter, Justin clearly contrasts our natural birth which happens without our choice, to baptism which happens when a person has the capacity of sufficient "knowledge" and "choice" to be born again. Second, it seems as if he posits willful repentance (along with the ability to choose) as a condition for baptism. See quote below. This seems very clear along with the fact that Justin does not add any qualifier for infants here nor in any other writings where he mentions baptism. Yes he does make the typological and covenantal connection between circumcision and baptism, however this is not enough to adduce paedobaptism. The Church of Christ denomination today could also confess this same connection while maintaining their credobaptist position.

"...in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the laver the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone." (First Apology, Chapter 61)

"And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings." (First Apology, Chapter 61)

Some may say that Justin only addresses adult-convert baptisms since a mass amount of conversions were happening in Rome during the time when he was drafting the apology. However, the explicit wording and emphasis on choice and repentance in relation to being "born again" through baptism would certainly conflict with paedobaptisms that were supposedly happening during this time. The fact that there is no qualifier or exception/explanation for infants here or anywhere in Justin's writings is concerning along with the fact that Justin claims his teaching on baptism was received from the apostles: "And for this [rite] we have learned from the apostles this reason."

JohnOwenFan
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VictorBravo

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Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think you've understood the second quote in the reverse of what's intended. He's not saying that those who undergo baptism are already illuminated in their understandings, he's saying that baptism causes those baptized to become illuminated. That is, he is teaching what we call baptismal regeneration.
 

Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
I think you've understood the second quote in the reverse of what's intended. He's not saying that those who undergo baptism are already illuminated in their understandings, he's saying that baptism causes those baptized to become illuminated. That is, he is teaching what we call baptismal regeneration.
Justin goes on to say "those enlightened are then washed" ο φωτιζόμενος λούεται
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Justin goes on to say "those enlightened are then washed" ο φωτιζόμενος λούεται
Doesn't that Greek phrase simply mean "the enlightened one is washed"? I don't see that as clearly placing the enlightenment prior to the washing in the way that the insertion of "then" seems to indicate.
 

hammondjones

Puritan Board Junior
I think it is important to remember that he is writing this as an apology to pagans. It is descriptive, not necessarily prescriptive, and certainly not exhaustive.

Discussed ever so briefly here, around minute 20

 
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