Infant baptism

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The validity of the baptism of infants is often doubted by many protestants. This is largely derived from the theology of the Anabaptists, a group that rose out of the Radical Reformation. The Schleitheim Confession, an early Swiss Anabaptist creed that was written in 1527, is quoted as saying:

"Baptism shall be given to all those who have learned repentance and amendment of life, and who believe truly that their sins are taken away by Christ, and to all those who walk in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and wish to be buried with Him in death, so that they may be resurrected with Him and to all those who with this significance request it (baptism) of us and demand it for themselves. This excludes all infant baptism, the highest and chief abomination of the Pope."

This, of course, is contrary to the teachings of Orthodoxy, which correctly teaches that infants are perfectly capable of being in the Body of Christ. As pointed out by Origen, in his Homily to the Romans, "the Church received from the apostles the tradition of baptizing infants too."

Infant Baptism as the New Circumcision

the early church often contrasted the rite of baptism to that of circumcision. In the same way the rite of Circumcision initiated one into the nation of Israel and the Jewish people, the rite of Baptism brings one into the life of the Church.

"In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead." Colossians 2:11-12

This line of reasoning was carried on by the Holy Fathers. For example, Hilary of Poitiers[1], Augustine[2], and Cyprian[3] all expressed the idea that Circumcision is connected to the Rite of Baptism.

Salvific Power of Baptism

Personal Death Within Christ

The Family As One Flesh

Possible Biblical References

Emergency Baptisms

Ethical Implications of Credobaptism


Origen, Homily on Romans, V:9 (A.D. 244).