Were there any credobaptists in the early church?

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biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
Before you get hot and start quoting Tertullian to me, please consider this:


So much of how we debate hangs on the definitions of words. And in a desperate attempt to find some early support for credobaptism, I have heard people refer to Tertullian, Gregory of Naziansus, and even Augustine's mom (Monika) as early baptists. But once you think carefully about the modern definition of "baptist", the entire argument falls to pieces.

To my knowledge, the few in the early church who did not practice infant baptism had the following characteristics in direct opposition to modern credobaptists:

1) Their reasons for delaying baptism were totally unlike the reasons given for credobaptism today. --- As far as I know, nobody in the early church said that Scripture requires a person to delay baptism until after a profession of faith, as opposed to being bapized as an infant. Tertullian is a case in point. He does call for people to not baptize their babies. But that is because of two faulty doctrines in his theology. First, he believed in baptismal regeneration. Thus, he figured it was better to delay baptism, so that all of a person's past sins would be washed away by the water. In the same breath as calling for the delay of baptism of infants, he *also* called for the delay of baptism of unmarried people who are heavily tempted. But yet he *never* made an appeal to Scripture to suggest that only "believer's baptism" was valid. Does this sound even remotely like modern credobaptist arguments? Secondly, he did not believe in original sin, so he figured there was no sin in the infant to worry about, anyway. It is also interesting that a number of the so-called early-church-baptists actually delayed baptism until death so that all the sins of their lives would be washed away. Does that have anything to do with modern credobaptist exegesis of the Scriptures? I think not.

2) Not one of them ever said that infant baptism was unscriptural or invalid, as far as I know. --- This point is particularly striking to me. Maybe I am just ignorant here, but I do not know of a single statement made by anybody in the early church, saying that infant baptism is invalid. Tertullian never said that those baptized in infancy received "no baptism at all", and therefore must be baptized "for real" after a profession of faith. Gregory of Naziansus did not say that paedobaptism was in opposition to the Bible's teaching on baptism. And how about Monika? If she raised Augustine as a credobaptist, then all of his statements about the universality of acceptance of infant baptism, and about paedobaptism's apostolicity, must have been lies. Isn't it much more reasonable to assume that he wasn't baptized as an infant because his *unsaved* dad would not permit it?

By the way, please do not introduce the red herring of baptismal mode in this thread. For the purposes of this thread, I don't care whether affusion or immersion were used in the early church. The discussion of mode is irrelevant to the discussion regarding the subjects of baptism. For example, the EO church baptizes infants by immersion. So please, don't tell me about early church "baptistries". That point is moot to the present discussion.


In a nutshell, here is my argument:

In the early church, NOBODY rejected infant baptism as unscriptural. Rather, their reasons for delaying baptism were always pragmatic.


And I am willing to be taught. If you know of some early church evidence to the contrary, then please present it to me so I can make a humble retraction. I am saying what I'm saying because of what I know at this time. But if you can show me that there were some bona fide credobaptists walking around in the early church, then I am all ears. I'm listening.




[Edited on 12-7-2005 by biblelighthouse]
 

biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
One more request: Please do not flip this thread around and make assertions about what early-church paedobaptists did and did not believe. If you want to talk about the early-church connection made between circumcision and baptism (see Cyprian for example), then please start a separate thread.

This thread is about so-called credobaptists in the early church.

[Edited on 12-7-2005 by biblelighthouse]
 

Preach

Puritan Board Sophomore
Joseph, I am a paedobaptist. My basis for this belief is 100% Scriptural. There were no extrabiblical arguments in my consideration (that I'm aware of). My question to you surrounds the word "nobody". When you asseret that nobody opposed infant baptism on Scriptural and not pragmatic grounds, how do you connote the word "nobody"?

Do you have in mind no Christian anywhere in the world, or the writing theologians/historians, etc? Just asking a clarifying question , because the word "nobody" may be perceived differently by different people. Thanks brother.

Joseph, as an aside, a number of your articles have been a wonderful blessing in my life, and I have used them when counseling on God's sovereignty.
"In Christ",
Bobby
 

biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Preach
Joseph, I am a paedobaptist. My basis for this belief is 100% Scriptural. There were no extrabiblical arguments in my consideration (that I'm aware of).

I agree that we should get our doctrines from the Scriptures, and not from church history.

I just think conversations like this can be helpful, because they force the "other guy" to think out the implications of his position. For example, consider the pre-trib rapture doctrine espoused by the "Left Behind" crowd. While I agree that we should strictly obey Scripture alone, I still like to see them squirm when trying to explain how it can be that the Holy Spirit kept the entire church in the dark about such an important doctrine for a millennium.

If there was a single verse in the Bible which commanded credobaptism and disavowed paedobaptism, then I would be a credobaptist, regardless of church history. --- But there is no such verse. --- And as it stands, I have no problem at all explaining the baptismal beliefs of the early church, whereas I believe the credobaptist has insurmountable problems doing so.

I agree that we should get our doctrine directly from Scripture. However, sometimes powerful extrabiblical arguments can lead people toward a more serious consideration of the exegetical merits of a particular doctrine. --- Thus, if a baptist became seriously disillusioned with baptism in early church history, I would hope that would drive him toward a more serious consideration of biblical paedobaptist arguments.

Originally posted by Preach
My question to you surrounds the word "nobody". When you assert that nobody opposed infant baptism on Scriptural and not pragmatic grounds, how do you connote the word "nobody"?

Do you have in mind no Christian anywhere in the world, or the writing theologians/historians, etc? Just asking a clarifying question , because the word "nobody" may be perceived differently by different people. Thanks brother.

By "nobody", I mean "nothing in writing". I am currently aware of no document from any of the early church fathers which could truly be called "credobaptistic". There are a very few who didn't choose to practice infant baptism, but their reason for avoiding it was usually because of a belief in baptismal regeneration, they never even claimed to have Scriptural warrant for demanding credobaptism, and they never held to the position that infant baptism was utterly invalid.


Originally posted by Preach
Joseph, as an aside, a number of your articles have been a wonderful blessing in my life, and I have used them when counseling on God's sovereignty.
"In Christ",
Bobby

Thank you very much for your kind words! I really appreciate the encouragement. I needed that!





[Edited on 12-7-2005 by biblelighthouse]
 

Robin

Puritan Board Junior
You're right, Joseph....

There is NO evidence in Holy Scripture to support denial of baptism to infants. As was discussed before, the Promise is to "you and your children." It's better to think of the overall practices connected to the New Covenant, though, rather than finding a verse or two.

There is an overarching pattern of OT circumcision changing into NT baptism - as signs of God's Covenant promise. (Keeping in mind, there is ONE covenant people of God, overall.)

Robin :book2:
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by biblelighthouse
If you want to talk about the early-church connection made between circumcision and baptism (see Cyprian for example), then please start a separate thread.

This can be split into a thread if necessary (I don't want to side-track the thread), but I wanted to point out that John Chrysostom also talks about that connection (circumcision -> baptism) in his homily on Colossians.

No longer, he saith, is the circumcision with the knife, but in Christ Himself; for no hand imparts this circumcision, as is the case there, but the Spirit. It circumciseth not a part, but the whole man. It is the body both in the one and the other case, but in the one it is carnally, in the other it is spiritually circumcised; but not as the Jews, for ye have not put off flesh, but sins. When and where? In Baptism.
John Chrysostom, The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians., Colossians: Homily VI

[Edited on 12-7-2005 by WrittenFromUtopia]
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Joseph,
I have neither the time nor the energy to treat of this in-depth at present, so forgive the brevity.

The fact is that the earliest writers who mention baptism at all, show themselves to be entirely ignorant of the baptism of infants. I have quoted an extract from the Didache on another thread. Immediately after that, it says, 'Before baptism, the baptizer and the baptized should fast, and any others who can: and you must order the baptized to fast for a day or two.' Obviously, infants cannot be expected to fast. I know you will disagree, but it seems inconceivable to me that the writer, if he knew about infant baptism, would not have appended some instructions about the matter. He is clearly totally ignorant of it.

Justin Martyr (Apologia I. LVI) writes:-
I shall now explain our method of dedicating ourselves to God after we have been born anew through Christ......All who accept and believe as true the things taught and said by us, and who undertake to have the power to live accordingly, are taught to pray and entreat God, fasting, for the forgiveness of their former sins, while we join in their prayer and fasting. Then we bring them to a place where there is water, where they are regenerated in the same way as we were: for they then make their ablution in the water in the Name of God the Father and Lord of all, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit.

Again, this account can only be about adult believers. Justin goes into much detail about Christian practices, and again, it is inconceivable that, if he knew anything about the baptism of infants, he would not have included it.

Infant baptism is unknown until Tertullian, who opposed it. If you want a really detailed discussion of the later Church Fathers, then I commend to you Antipaedobaptism in the Thought of John Tombes by Michael Renihan, B & R Press, 2001.

Grace & Peace,

Martin
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
Joseph,
I have neither the time nor the energy to treat of this in-depth at present, so forgive the brevity.

The fact is that the earliest writers who mention baptism at all, show themselves to be entirely ignorant of the baptism of infants. I have quoted an extract from the Didache on another thread. Immediately after that, it says, 'Before baptism, the baptizer and the baptized should fast, and any others who can: and you must order the baptized to fast for a day or two.' Obviously, infants cannot be expected to fast. I know you will disagree, but it seems inconceivable to me that the writer, if he knew about infant baptism, would not have appended some instructions about the matter. He is clearly totally ignorant of it.

Justin Martyr (Apologia I. LVI) writes:-
I shall now explain our method of dedicating ourselves to God after we have been born anew through Christ......All who accept and believe as true the things taught and said by us, and who undertake to have the power to live accordingly, are taught to pray and entreat God, fasting, for the forgiveness of their former sins, while we join in their prayer and fasting. Then we bring them to a place where there is water, where they are regenerated in the same way as we were: for they then make their ablution in the water in the Name of God the Father and Lord of all, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit.

Again, this account can only be about adult believers. Justin goes into much detail about Christian practices, and again, it is inconceivable that, if he knew anything about the baptism of infants, he would not have included it.

Infant baptism is unknown until Tertullian, who opposed it. If you want a really detailed discussion of the later Church Fathers, then I commend to you Antipaedobaptism in the Thought of John Tombes by Michael Renihan, B & R Press, 2001.

Grace & Peace,

Martin

Just because Tertullian fought against the practice does not mean that the practice was new at the time tertullian made his statement. In fact, it Tertullian who was presenting a new rationale for baptism.

[Edited on 12-7-2005 by Scott Bushey]
 

biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
it seems inconceivable to me that the writer, if he knew about infant baptism, would not have appended some instructions about the matter.

... Justin goes into much detail about Christian practices, and again, it is inconceivable that, if he knew anything about the baptism of infants, he would not have included it.

Martin, your argument is moot, and is easily dealt with. Here are two reasons:

1) If it is "inconceivable" to a person that instructions could be given regarding the adult reception of a sacrament, without also including special instructions about the infant reception of the same sacrament, then that person would just be betraying his lack of understanding of historical church documents. Even in recent history, churches have drafted official doctrinal documents which give information about participation in sacraments, apparently limiting participation to adults, regardless of the fact that the church itself simply "understands" such limitations to apply *only* to adults, and not to all participants. One case in point is the Episcopalian church. The Episcopalian Catechism specifically says regarding communion that "It is required that we should examine our lives, repent of our sins, and be in love and charity with all people." And since the catechism says nothing about infants, a person might assume that they are excluded. However, this is not the case. As you can see here , "any baptized person" is welcome to the Episcopalian communion table.

(Note: let's not turn this into a paedocommunion thread. I am simply demonstrating that infants are *not* always explicitly mentioned, even when they are understood to be included. All paedobaptists should be able to agree with me on this particular point, whether you are pro-PC or anti-PC.)


2) You still have not begun to interact with my actual challenge. If you don't believe that paedobaptists were around until the 3rd century, then fine . . . show me all the "baptists" in the 3rd century who spoke up against it on Scriptural grounds. Show me all of the early credobaptists who rejected infant baptism as invalid. I'll even take some data from the 4th century if you can find it!



Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
Infant baptism is unknown until Tertullian, who opposed it.

Nonsense. Origen was baptized as an infant in the year 185, a couple decades prior to Tertullian.



But overall, your post entirely misses the point of my challenge, Martin.

The fact is that there were certainly many documented paedobaptists around in the 3rd and 4th centuries. In fact, a synod of 66 bishops in Carthage around 250 A.D. unanimously agreed on the apostolicity of infant baptism. And such unanimous agreement among such a large number of bishops in the church is utterly inconceivable if paedobaptism was just "introduced" around the time of Tertullian in 200 A.D., as you assert.


If you really want to respond to my challenge, then show me all the baptists (or ANY of them!) in the 3rd and 4th centuries who repudiated paedobaptism on Scriptural grounds, rather than pragmatic (baptismal regeneration) grounds. Show me ANY person in the 3rd or 4th century who flatly rejected the validity of infant baptism. Even your buddy Tertullian didn't do that! Among the paltry few so-called "baptists" of that time, I don't believe any of them taught that infant baptism was invalid. The few of them just merely thought it was unpreferred. And THAT is a far cry from being a credobaptist!!

Even upon your own presupposition of the introduction of paedobaptism around 200 A.D., your whole historical argument still falls apart. You are saying that EVERYONE was a "baptist" until 200 A.D., and virtually everyone after that was a paedobaptist, and yet NOBODY bothered to make a Scriptural refutation of paedobaptism, and NOBODY rejected paedobaptism outright as being "no baptism at all"? Ha! Your suggestion is just as problematic (if not moreso) than my original hypothetical question regarding credobaptists in the early church!

You are actually suggesting that there were a bunch of baptists in the early church who just kept their mouths shut, and didn't speak up to reject infant baptism as invalid. Now THAT certainly looks NOTHING like a modern credobaptist! :lol:





[Edited on 12-7-2005 by biblelighthouse]
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
There is also no argument made by anyone about baptismal regeneration as far as I know. Perhaps the Romanists are right after all :lol:

I suspect that the reason in both cases is that books were a lot easier to destroy in those days than to write. Evidence of pre-Reformation baptistic groups is hard to come by because the Church of Rome destroyed their writings. Fortunately, enough nformation is available in official Church documents and some has been discovered in recent years to give us some idea of who they were.

At all events, neither Augustine, Gregory Nazianzen or Chrysostom were baptized as infants. Of course it is possible to imagine reasons why that might be, but one of the reasons might be that infant baptism was not as common as Augustine suggests.

BTW, as a former Episcopalian, I can assure you that you had to be 'confirmed' before you could take communion in my young day. If your link is an official church document, then it is further evidence of Anglicanism's sad and probably terminal decline.

Grace & Peace,

Martin

[Edited on 12-7-2005 by Martin Marprelate]
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Oh ya, like the CoR destroyed all the gnostic documents which prove Mary Magdalene was the first pope and changed the bible to say Christ was God. Wait, was that "Trail of Blood" or "The da Vinci Code"?
 

biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Martin Marprelate

I suspect that the reason in both cases is that books were a lot easier to destroy in those days than to write. Evidence of pre-Reformation baptistic groups is hard to come by because the Church of Rome destroyed their writings.

:lol:

You crack me up at how you keep trying to make an argument, and yet end up refuting yourself in the same breath. Think carefully about this:

* Baptists love to quote guys like Tertullian, Gregory of Naz., etc., as if they were early church credobaptists.

* My original challenge noted that such early church fathers *never* used credobaptistic arguments. Thus, they were not credobaptists.

* You just tried to "explain" the situation by suggesting that the Roman Catholic church destroyed the writings of the pre-reformation baptists.

But do you not see how your argument is self-defeating? If Rome destroyed credobaptistic writings, then why do we still have Tertullian's writings, knowledge about Gregory of Naz., etc.? According to your suggestion, Rome has burnt the pre-reformation writings in favor of credobaptism, so therefore NONE of these guys must have been credobaptists! Rome must NOT have ever felt like Tertullian or Gregory of N. were suggesting the invalidity of paedobaptism! Thus, you have simply lent support to *my* argument, that we have no written examples of credobaptism in the early church.

Your argument doesn't help you at all. If Rome DID burn up the credobaptistic literature, then I am correct that we have no early church credobaptistic writings, and I am also correct that Tertullian, Gregory of Naz., etc., were NOT credobaptists. They did NOT teach that infant baptism was invalid.

Either way you slice your argument, it turns up in the favor of paedobaptism.



Originally posted by Martin Marprelate

Fortunately, enough information is available in official Church documents and some has been discovered in recent years to give us some idea of who they were.

What "official Church documents" are these? I would like to take a look at them. Are you suggesting that we have *documented* evidence of bona fide credobaptists in the early church? That would be surprising find indeed. (Though I imagine it is a find that will never actually happen.)

Or are you just talking about more recent groups, such as the Petrobrussians? They were certainly pre-Reformation, but they still came after the East/West split, and started several centuries after the early church fathers had been long gone.




[Edited on 12-7-2005 by biblelighthouse]
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Polycarp of Smyrna who was martyred in 156 AD, in his 'testimony in stadium' he states that 86 years prior (70AD-interesting year to be baptized), paraphrased, he was baptized as an infant. From other writings we can see that he was also a follower of the apostle John.
 

biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Romans922
I think you guys are poking a little too much fun. I would say watch your sarcasm.

Good point. I just deleted my last post.

Let's keep this thing focused on church history.
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by Romans922
Polycarp of Smyrna who was martyred in 156 AD, in his 'testimony in stadium' he states that 86 years prior (70AD-interesting year to be baptized), paraphrased, he was baptized as an infant. From other writings we can see that he was also a follower of the apostle John.

Polycarp nowhere states that he was baptized as an infant. He writes, 'Eighty-six years have I served him.....'. You neeed a vivid imagination to turn that into baptism. There are no references to paedo-baptism until Tertullian, who opposed it. To me that is conclusive evidence that it was unknown in the early church. Read Justin Martyr. If there had been such a thing as infant baptism in his day, he would have described it.

Martin.
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
What "official Church documents" are these? I would like to take a look at them. Are you suggesting that we have *documented* evidence of bona fide credobaptists in the early church? That would be surprising find indeed. (Though I imagine it is a find that will never actually happen.)

The following comes from E.H.Broadbent, The Pilgrim Church
'The [9th Century] Armenian book book called The Key of Truth.....describes the beliefs and practices of those called Paulicians........ Our Lord, [the writer] says, asks first for repentance and faith and then gives baptism, so we must follow Him and not do after the deceitful arguments of others, who baptize the unbelieving, the reasonless and the unrepentant........ When anyone is baptized it should be at his or her earnest request. Baptism should be in rivers or other water in the open air. The one to be baptized should, on his knees in the midst of the water, confess his faith before the congregation present...'

Some at least of the Waldensians also practised credo-baptism in the 13th Century. One of their opponents, Pseudo-Reimer (1260) wrote, 'Some err, claiming that little children are not saved by baptism, for, they declare, The Lord says, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," but a child does not yet believe."'

In 1463 and again in 1467, there were gatherings in Bohemia of Waldensians and Hussites and others who opposed the Church of Rome. 'One of the first things they did was to baptize those present, for the baptism of believers was common to the Waldensians and to most of the brethren in different parts, though it had been interrupted by pressure of persecution. They also formally separated themselves from the Church of Rome'

Finally, an excerpt from Two Thousand Years of Christ's Power Vol II by Prof. N. Needham:-
The Petrobusians
This group was named after its founder Peter de Bruys....who in about 1105 started a reform movement in Southern France...... The authorities burnt Peter at the stake in 1126. Peter the Venerable, abbot of Cluny..... wrote a treatise against the Petrobusians, in which he identified five chief 'errors' that they taught: (i) They denied infant baptism, baptizing only those who made a profession of faith; (ii) They denied the holiness of church buildings and altars; (iii) They refused to venerate the sign of the cross; (iv)They denied the doctrine of transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the mass; (v) They denied that any prayers or good works done on earth could help those who had already died; (vi) They opposed the celibacy of the clergy.'

The earliest credo-baptist literature is, of course, the Didache and Justin Martyr :lol:

Grace & Peace,

Martin

[Edited on 12-8-2005 by Martin Marprelate]

[Edited on 12-8-2005 by Martin Marprelate]
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
Originally posted by Romans922
Polycarp of Smyrna who was martyred in 156 AD, in his 'testimony in stadium' he states that 86 years prior (70AD-interesting year to be baptized), paraphrased, he was baptized as an infant. From other writings we can see that he was also a follower of the apostle John.

Polycarp nowhere states that he was baptized as an infant. He writes, 'Eighty-six years have I served him.....'. You neeed a vivid imagination to turn that into baptism. There are no references to paedo-baptism until Tertullian, who opposed it. To me that is conclusive evidence that it was unknown in the early church. Read Justin Martyr. If there had been such a thing as infant baptism in his day, he would have described it.

Martin.

Yes I know that is what it says (rather, it is "4 score and 6 years I have served my King"). Now we could think along with me here for just a second. If this man is baptized as a believer, he would have to be what at least over the age of 90 right? 4 score and 6 years is 86. I mean i think he is referring back to his baptism not his conversion. Heck he would have to be pretty old if he wasnt referring to his baptism. I think that is pretty good evidence that he was baptized as an infant, and not as an adult.
 

biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
What "official Church documents" are these? I would like to take a look at them. Are you suggesting that we have *documented* evidence of bona fide credobaptists in the early church? That would be surprising find indeed. (Though I imagine it is a find that will never actually happen.)
The following comes from E.H.Broadbent, The Pilgrim Church
'The [9th Century] Armenian book called The Key of Truth.....
Some at least of the Waldensians also practised credo-baptism in the 13th Century. . . .
In 1463 and again in 1467, there were gatherings in Bohemia of Waldensians and Hussites . . .
Finally, an excerpt from Two Thousand Years of Christ's Power Vol II by Prof. N. Needham:-
The Petrobusians . . .

Yes, Martin, with the exception of the "Key of Truth" book from the 9th century, I was already aware of all these. I am familiar with the baptismal practices of the Petrobusians, Waldenses, and Hussites.

I also find it QUITE interesting, that even after all this discussion, you still haven't been able to come up with anything from the time of the early church fathers. NOT ONE person in the early church wrote against infant baptism.

Your quotes from the 9th, 12th, and 15th centuries do nothing to answer my challenge regarding the first few centuries of the NT church. I still haven't seen any antipaedobaptist quotes from the 3rd century, for example . . . and that is when I would MOST expect to see it, if that it when paedobaptism was "introduced", as you assert.

Thus, my original challenge still stands uncontested.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
And you can stop repeating that, we get the point Joseph. The burden of proof is on him, please be patient. And or, he could state if he was looking for it, which would help being patient. But I don't think we have to keep repeating ourselves. Say it once, if someone doesn't listen, you have already said what needed to be said.
 

refbaptdude

Puritan Board Freshman
Infant Baptism and the Early Church Fathers

Joseph,

Did these early Church Fathers practice infant baptism because of the same theological convictions as you?

Thanks,
Steve
 

biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by refbaptdude
Joseph,

Did these early Church Fathers practice infant baptism because of the same theological convictions as you?

Thanks,
Steve

Yes.

In a nutshell: The early church recognized the link between circumcision and baptism, just as Reformed paedobaptists recognize today. A striking example of this is Cyprian, and a unanimous synod of 66 bishops in Carthage around 250 A.D. --- However, I grant that the aberrant theology of baptismal regeneration ended up eclipsing the underlying correct theology regarding covenant baptism.

But if you want to debate this point, then please open a separate thread. --- I would be happy to show you early church sources which link circumcision and baptism, but I don't want to do it on this early-church/credobaptism thread.
 

gwine

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yes I know that is what it says (rather, it is "4 score and 6 years I have served my King").

score
late O.E. scoru "twenty," from O.N. skor "mark, tally," also, in Icelandic, "twenty," from P.Gmc.

SCORE - (ON skor) [1016-1150]
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Joseph,
you wrote:-
To my knowledge, the few in the early church who did not practice infant baptism had the following characteristics in direct opposition to modern credobaptists:

You are wrong to say, 'the few.' I would say that before Augustine, the practice of paedobaptism was definitely a minority custom. Prof. Needham writes:-
'Believers' Baptism was the norm of baptismal practice in the 4th Century. Even though there is clear evidence that infant baptism was practised (and probably had been since the 2nd Century), most Christian parents would still not baptize their children.....' (2,000Years of Christ's Power, Vol I (Grace Publications, 1998 ).

1) Their reasons for delaying baptism were totally unlike the reasons given for credobaptism today.

This I agree. But were Paedobaptistic reasons the same as they are today? Were not The PB Church Fathers believers to a man in baptismal regeneration?

In a nutshell, here is my argument:

In the early church, NOBODY rejected infant baptism as unscriptural. Rather, their reasons for delaying baptism were always pragmatic.
I think you are probably right. However, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander! All your Paedobaptists among the Church Fathers were a whole lot closer the Rome on this matter than to you.

Moreover, if we pursue this argument, we shall all become Roman Catholics! Can you find me a Church Father who argued against Episcopalianism? If not, why aren't you an Episcopalian? That question is a whole lot older than the baptismal one (Ignatius of Antioch)!! Who amongst the Fathers argued against Baptismal Regeneration? Your case, if carried to its logical conclusion opens up a huge :worms:

On a general level, the question is an interesting one. Why aren't there Church Fathers arguing for what we would see as a Biblical position? I know it caused one or two of you some mirth, but I would stand by my suggestion that the Church of Rome destroyed their writings.

The reason that I am a Baptist, and reject your argument is because I believe the Bible teaches credo-baptism. The reason that you will reject the Fathers' belief in Episcopalianism is because you believe (wrongly :p) that the Bible teaches Presbyterianism and you aren't going to change your view because of them.

Grace & Peace,

Martin

[Edited on 12-8-2005 by Martin Marprelate]
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Excuse me, I think I overlooked what I had wrote about Polycarp. He was martyred in 156AD, that means that he wrote his 'testimony' at 156 or before. 86 years minus 156 is 70AD. However, I am sure it is more likely that he wrote this before his death, so we could say 70AD or before...'he served his King'. Meaning obviously when he wrote it he was 86 years old or older, when he was martyred he would have to be older than 86. I'm sure it wasnt too much longer after he wrote it, since he was 86. Therefore, I just wanted to say that it was probably before 70 AD when he started to 'serve his king' and I am sure this entails his infant baptism. That is all.
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Andrew,
I think you'll find that his testimony was made before the Roman Governor just before his execution, so his testimony, like his death can be dated at 156AD.

However, he is not discussing baptism, baptism is not mentioned, even in passing, throughout his address. Why do you think he is talking about baptism?

Obviously, because there is no mention in any way of baptism, I cannot prove he doesn't mean that, but it could equally mean that he has served God all his life, or that he is now in his nineties and made a profession as a child.

Grace & Peace,

Martin
 

biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Martin Marprelate

1) Their reasons for delaying baptism were totally unlike the reasons given for credobaptism today.

This I agree. But were Paedobaptistic reasons the same as they are today? Were not The PB Church Fathers believers to a man in baptismal regeneration?

The early church recognized the connection between circumcision and baptism. This belief of theirs was correct, and remains correct to this day. In their minds, did baptismal regeneration eclipse the importance of the underlying circumcision/baptism connection? Certainly. But it does not follow that the underlying correlation was not understood and taught.


Originally posted by Martin Marprelate

In a nutshell, here is my argument:

In the early church, NOBODY rejected infant baptism as unscriptural. Rather, their reasons for delaying baptism were always pragmatic.
I think you are probably right. However, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander! All your Paedobaptists among the Church Fathers were a whole lot closer the Rome on this matter than to you.

I never said there wasn't error in the early church. I merely note that there WAS truth there, too. They did argue for the connection between circumcision and baptism. But of course there were doctrinal accretions that got added . . . like baptismal regeneration, for example.

Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
Moreover, if we pursue this argument, we shall all become Roman Catholics! Can you find me a Church Father who argued against Episcopalianism? If not, why aren't you an Episcopalian? That question is a whole lot older than the baptismal one (Ignatius of Antioch)!!

You have a point here, but you take it too far. The Eastern church *never* accepted the Roman papacy. They tolerated it, and even accepted Rome as "first among equals", but the Eastern church didn't recognize the superiority of Rome. So I would disagree that the pursuit of this argument would lead us to be Roman Catholics.

However, you have a point regarding Episcopalianism in general. . . . specifically regarding the question of whether churches should be run by a bishop, or by a plurality of elders.

Of course I lean toward the argument for a plurality of elders. But I frankly haven't dived into the discussion much at all. I don't know the arguments in-depth for Episcopacy versus Presbyterianism versus Congregationalism. And I haven't studied the early church in much detail on this point, either. So I'll have to take a rain check on that particular discussion until I have the time for further study on it.

Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
On a general level, the question is an interesting one. Why aren't there Church Fathers arguing for what we would see as a Biblical position? I know it caused one or two of you some mirth, but I would stand by my suggestion that the Church of Rome destroyed their writings.

Then why didn't Rome burn Tertullian's writings? Why didn't they burn Justyn Martyr's writings? They must have been VERY selective, being careful to only burn up the clearly credobaptist writings, but being careful to still leave some marginally questionable writings around, so that credobaptists would still have some early church history at which to grasp. The theory sounds pretty suspect to me.


Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
The reason that I am a Baptist, and reject your argument is because I believe the Bible teaches credo-baptism.

It is just interesting that your view forces to you believe that there were lots of antipaedobaptist writings in the early church that somehow all got destroyed, and didn't even manage to leave a single trace of themselves in the quotations of others. Poof! They disappeared without a trace to support your theory. Your theory is unfalsafiable, which makes it useless.

Of course belief that the Bible teaches something is the best reason to believe anything. I just found that credobaptists' unlikely interpretations of history helped encourage me to take a more serious look at Biblical arguments for paedobaptism. And once I carefully looked at them and considered them, I found them irrefutable. I owe Dr. McMahon a great debt for introducing me to Covenant Theology. And it is impossible to consistently hold to Covenant Theology without being a paedobaptist.


In any case, thank you for agreeing that I was correct to begin with. My initial suggestion was that we have NOT ONE single writing from anyone in the early church, opposing the validity of infant baptism. And you have granted the truth of that statement. Thank you!



Of course, this thread remains open for anyone who can demonstrate that the original suggestion was incorrect.

OR . . . if anyone can bring forth any proof that the Roman Catholic church burnt up credobaptist writings from the early church, I would like to see that info too.
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello Joseph,
You wrote:-
I never said there wasn't error in the early church. I merely note that there WAS truth there, too. They did argue for the connection between circumcision and baptism. But of course there were doctrinal accretions that got added . . . like baptismal regeneration, for example.
Do you see your imbalance coming out here? The Church Fathers aren't too bad. They agree with you on some things! Who made you the final authority on which doctrines are good or bad. 'To the law and to the Tesimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them!' If you treat the Fathers as a smorgasbord, then you must permit me to do likewise.

Of course I lean toward the argument for a plurality of elders. But I frankly haven't dived into the discussion much at all. I don't know the arguments in-depth for Episcopacy versus Presbyterianism versus Congregationalism. And I haven't studied the early church in much detail on this point, either. So I'll have to take a rain check on that particular discussion until I have the time for further study on it.
Why don't you take the position of the Church Fathers? Not one of them argues against it to the best of my knowledge. But if you take the liberty of rejecting their unanimous teaching, then you must allow me the lesser liberty of supporting the Didache and Justin against the later Fathers.

It is just interesting that your view forces to you believe that there were lots of antipaedobaptist writings in the early church that somehow all got destroyed, and didn't even manage to leave a single trace of themselves in the quotations of others. Poof! They disappeared without a trace to support your theory. Your theory is unfalsafiable, which makes it useless.

It doesn't force me to do anything of the sort. I offer it as a possible explanation. Tell me, Why is there not a single voice raised against the Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration? If you can offer me an explanation for that, then I may change my view.

In any case, thank you for agreeing that I was correct to begin with. My initial suggestion was that we have NOT ONE single writing from anyone in the early church, opposing the validity of infant baptism. And you have granted the truth of that statement. Thank you!
I do agree, though I am by no means an authority.
However, I believe that the fact that the Didache and Justin Martyr give information concerning adult baptism, but not the infant variety is far more important. Who do you think excised the bits about paedo-baptism from those two works? :D

I owe Dr. McMahon a great debt for introducing me to Covenant Theology.
[bites tongue]
And it is impossible to consistently hold to Covenant Theology without being a paedobaptist.

Nonsense! It's long past time to do away with the last vestiges of Romanism and Sacralism and move to proper Reformed theology.

Grace & Peace,

Martin
 
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