Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants or young children. Infant baptism can be contrasted with what is called "believer's baptism" (or credobaptism, from the Latin word credo meaning "I believe"), which is the religious practice of baptising only individuals who personally confess faith in Jesus, therefore excluding underage children. Opposition to infant baptism is termed catabaptism. Infant baptism is also called christening by some faith traditions.
Most Christians belong to denominations that practice infant baptism. Branches of Christianity that practice infant baptism include Catholics, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, and among Protestants, several denominations: Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and other Reformed denominations, Methodists, Nazarenes, Moravians, and United Protestants.
The exact details of the baptismal ceremony vary among Christian denominations. Many follow a prepared ceremony, called a rite or liturgy. In a typical ceremony, parents or godparents bring their child to their congregation's priest or minister. The rite used would be the same as that denomination's rite for adults, i.e., by pouring holy water (affusion) or by sprinkling water (aspersion). Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic traditions practise total immersion and baptise babies in a font, and this practice is also the first method listed in the baptismal ritual of the Roman Catholic, although pouring is the standard practice within the Latin branch of Catholicism. Catholic and Orthodox churches that do this do not sprinkle. At the moment of baptism, the minister utters the words "I baptise you (or, 'The servant of God (name) is baptised') in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (see Matthew 28:19).
Although it is not required, many parents and godparents choose to dress the baby in a white gown called a christening gown for the baptism ceremony. Christening gowns often become treasured keepsakes that are used by many other children in the family and handed down from generation to generation. Traditionally, this gown is white or slightly off white and made with much lace, trim and intricate detail. In the past, a gown was used for both boys and girls; in the present day it has become more common to dress children in a baptismal outfit. Also normally made of white fabric, the outfit consists of a romper with a vest or other accessories. These clothes are often kept as a memento after the ceremony.
Scholars disagree on the date when infant baptism was first practiced. Some believe that 1st-century Christians did not practice it, noting the lack of any explicit evidence of paedobaptism. Others, noting the lack of any explicit evidence of exclusion of paedobaptism, believe that they did, understanding biblical references to individuals "and [her] household" being baptised (Acts 16:15, Acts 16:31–33, 1 Corinthians 1:16) as including young children.
The earliest extra-biblical directions for baptism, which occur in the Didache (c. 100), are taken to be about baptism of adults, since they require fasting by the person to be baptised. However, inscriptions dating back to the 2nd century which refer to young children as "children of God" may indicate that Christians customarily baptised infants too. The earliest reference to infant baptism was by Irenaeus (c. 130–202) in his work Against Heresies. Due to its reference to Eleutherus as the current bishop of Rome, the work is usually dated c. 180. Irenaeus speaks of children being "born again to God." This reference has been described as "obscure." Three passages by Origen (185–c. 254) mention infant baptism as traditional and customary. While Tertullian writing c. 198–203 advises the postponement of baptism of little children and the unmarried, he mentions that it was customary to baptise infants, with sponsors speaking on their behalf. The Apostolic Tradition, sometimes attributed to Hippolytus of Rome (died 235), describes how to perform the ceremony of baptism; it states that children were baptised first, and if any of them could not answer for themselves, their parents or someone else from their family was to answer for them.
From at least the 3rd century onward Christians baptised infants as standard practice, although some preferred to postpone baptism until late in life, so as to ensure forgiveness for all their preceding sins.
In the 21st century, a number of incidents surrounding apparently particularly "rough", "aggressive" or even "violent" infant baptisms according to the Eastern Orthodox submersion or immersion rite have sparked controversies as to whether they constituted child abuse.
- In January 2017, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II performed a mass infant baptism of hundreds of children at the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi during the Georgian Orthodox Church's celebration of Epiphany. Many foreign observers found this "shocking" and wondered whether such baptisms should be considered child abuse.
- A May 2018 viral video of an infant baptism – allegedly performed in Ayia Napa, Cyprus, at a Greek Orthodox church, although this remains unconfirmed – received much media attention. In a statement, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia condemned the practice as "physically abusive", but claimed the performer was 'not Greek Orthodox', let alone a Greek Orthodox priest or bishop; instead, pouring water over a baby's head is 'typical' practice within the Greek Orthodox Church.
- In December 2018, priest Ilia Semiletov from the Russian Orthodox Church's St George's Convent in Yessentuki, Stavropol Krai, Russia was suspended for 'acting too harshly' when performing a baptism. In a video recording that went viral, he was seen forcing the head of a 2-year-old girl, who was 'screaming in terror', repeatedly underwater in the baptism font. According to a parishioner, Semiletov did this because 'Satan is sitting inside [children]', thus they need to be 'broken'. The priest will face a church court over the incident.
- In August 2019, Russian Orthodox priest Fotiy Necheporenko of Marienburg church in Gatchina near Saint Petersburg, Russia was suspended for a year after forcefully trying to submerge a one-year-old boy, who allegedly sustained scratches on his shoulder and neck to the cost of 3,500 roubles (£45). Even after the boy's mother intervened, Necheporenko proceeded, declaring afterwards he had baptised infants this way for 26 years.
- On 17 October 2020, a toddler was allegedly injured and hit by a Greek Orthodox priest during a baptism ceremony in a church near Limassol, Cyprus. The priest admitted he almost dropped the child, but continued the baptism, repeatedly bumping its legs against the edge of the metal font, even after family members insisted he be more careful. The child's mother shared video footage of the ceremony online, and filed a legal complaint against the priest. The priest apologised on television the next day, but denied any deliberate wrongdoing.
- On 1 February 2021, a six-week-old baby boy was killed in Suceava, Romania by cardiac arrest after he was immersed three times in holy water. An autopsy found he had a violent death, and liquid was found in his lungs. The infant baptism death sparked a large-scale controversy in the country, and created a rift within the Romanian Orthodox Church about whether or not to discontinue or change the practice. Vladimir Dumitru launched a petition to reform and regulate infant baptisms to prevent unnecessary risks. By 5 February 2021, the petition had reached over 60,000 signatures, and received the public support of the Archbishop of Argeș and Muscel, Calinic Argatu. Archbishop Teodosie Petrescu of Tomis opposed any reform.
Agreements among paedobaptists
Based on their understanding of New Testament passages such as Colossians 2:11–12, paedobaptists believe that infant baptism is the New Testament counterpart to the Old Testament circumcision. In the Old Testament, all male converts to Judaism, male infants born to Jewish parents, and male servants were circumcised as ceremony of initiation into the Jewish community. Paedobaptists believe that baptism has replaced Old Testament circumcision and is the religious ceremony of initiation into the Christian community.
During the medieval and Reformation eras, infant baptism was seen as a way to incorporate newborn babies into the secular community as well as inducting them into the Christian faith. Due to high rates of infant mortality, it is important to note that canon law denied unbaptized infants a Christian burial in sacred ground.
Teachings of Christian denominations practicing paedobaptism
Different Christian denominations who practice infant baptism attach different meanings to the sacrament and explain its efficacy in different ways.
Roman Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church considers baptism, even for an infant, so important that "parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptised within the first few weeks" and, "if the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptised without any delay." It declares: "The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole 'households' received baptism, infants may also have been baptised". It notes that "when the first direct evidence of infant Baptism appears in the second century, it is never presented as an innovation", that 2nd-century Irenaeus treated baptism of infants as a matter of course, and that, "at a Synod of African Bishops, St. Cyprian stated that 'God's mercy and grace should not be refused to anyone born', and the Synod, recalling that 'all human beings' are 'equal', whatever be 'their size or age', declared it lawful to baptize children 'by the second or third day after their birth'". In the 17th and 18th centuries, many infants were baptised on the day of their birth as in the cases of Francoise-Athenais, Marquise de Montespan, Jeanne Du Barry and Marie Anne de Cupis de Camargo. Infant baptism is seen as showing very clearly that salvation is an unmerited favour from God, not the fruit of human effort. "Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called . . . The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth".
The Church has no dogmatic official teaching regarding the fate of infants who die without baptism, and theologians of the Church hold various views (in particular, many have asserted that they go to Limbo). "The Church entrusts these infants to the mercy of God."
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued on 20 October 1980 an instruction on infant baptism, whose purpose was "to recall the principal points of doctrine in this field which justify the Church's constant practice down the centuries and demonstrate its permanent value in spite of the difficulties raised today". The document then indicated some general guidelines for pastoral action.
The document recalled that infant baptism has long been considered of apostolic origin and that the first direct evidence of its practice, dating from the 2nd century, does not present it as an innovation. It then responded to objections that baptism should follow faith, that the person baptised should consciously receive the grace of the sacrament, that the person should freely accept baptism, that infant baptism is unsuitable in a society marked by instability of values and conflicts of ideas, and that the practice is inimical to a missionary outlook on the part of the Church.
The instruction then gave guidelines for pastoral practice, based on two principles. The major principle is that baptism, as the sign and means of God's love that precedes any action on our part and that frees from original sin and communicates divine life, must not be delayed. The subordinate principle is that assurances must be given that the gift thus granted can grow by authentic education in the faith and Christian life. If these assurances are not really serious, there can be grounds for delaying baptism. If they are certainly absent, the sacrament should even be refused.
Accordingly, the rules for involvement on the part of practising Christian parents must be supplemented with other considerations in the case of "families with little faith or non-Christian families". If these request that a child of theirs be baptised, there must be assurances that the child will be given the benefit of the Christian upbringing required by the sacrament. Examples of such assurances are "the choice of godparents who will take sincere care of the child, or the support of the community". If there is satisfactory assurance, i.e., "any pledge giving a well-founded hope for the Christian upbringing of the children", then "the priest cannot refuse to celebrate the sacrament without delay, as in the case of children of Christian families". If there is insufficient assurance, "it will be prudent to delay baptism", while keeping contact with the parents in the hope of securing the required conditions for celebrating the sacrament. As a last resort, enrollment of the child in a course of catechetical instruction on reaching school age can be offered in lieu of immediate celebration of baptism. The possibility of delaying infant baptism in the case of non practicing or non believing parents raises a number of questions. How can we discern that there are guarantees of an authentic Christian education? Can a priest propose an alternative celebration in the case where baptism is to be delayed? In some German speaking countries, bishops have opened the door to a "two step baptism", i.e. two celebrations separated by a time of evangelization of the parents. In this case, the rite of baptism itself is to be performed in the second celebration, when parents are supposed to have enough maturity to raise the child in the Catholic faith.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate". In the Roman Rite, the wording of the prayer of exorcism is: "Almighty and ever-living God, you sent your only Son into the world to cast out the power of Satan, spirit of evil, to rescue man from the kingdom of darkness and bring him into the splendour of your kingdom of light. We pray for this child: set him (her) free from original sin, make him (her) a temple of your glory, and send your Holy Spirit to dwell with him (her). Through Christ our Lord."
Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy and the Church of the East
The Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy and the Assyrian Church of the East also insist on the need to have infants baptised as soon as is practicable after birth. Similar to the Roman Catholic Church, they teach that baptism is not merely a symbol but actually conveys grace. Baptism is a sacrament because it is an "instrument" instituted by Jesus Christ to impart grace to its recipients. Infants are traditionally baptised on the eighth day, recalling the biblical injunction to circumcise on the eighth day. However, this is not mandatory. In many of these churches, the Sacred Mystery of Chrismation (Confirmation) is administered by the priest immediately after baptism. Holy Communion, in the form of consecrated wine and bread, is also given to infants after they are baptised.
Lutherans practice infant baptism because they believe that God mandates it through the instruction of Jesus Christ, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)", in which Jesus does not set any age limit:
They also cite other biblical passages such as Mark 10:13–15, Mark 16:16, John 3:3–7 and Acts 2:38–39 in support of their position. For example, in the Acts of the Apostles Saint Peter's teachings on Pentecost included children in the promise of Baptism, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children".
For them baptism is a "means of grace" through which God creates and strengthens "saving faith" as the "washing of regeneration" (Titus 3:5) in which people are reborn (John 3:3–7): "baptismal regeneration". Since the creation of faith is exclusively God's work, it does not depend on the actions of the one baptised, whether infant or adult. Even though baptised infants cannot articulate that faith, Lutherans believe that it is present all the same. Because it is faith alone that receives these divine gifts, Lutherans confess that baptism "works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare". In the special section on infant baptism in his Large Catechism Luther argues that infant baptism is God-pleasing because persons so baptised were reborn and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Lutherans believe that babies are conceived and born sinful (Psalm 51:5) and therefore need to be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3:5–6). Through Baptism the Holy Spirit works rebirth (Titus 3:4–7), creates faith in them, and saves them (1 Peter 3:21). Although some deny the possibility of infant faith, the Bible clearly teaches that babies can believe (Mark 9:42, Luke 18:15–17).
In the Methodist Churches, baptism is a sacrament of initiation into the visible Church. Wesleyan covenant theology further teaches that baptism is a sign and a seal of the covenant of grace:
Of this great new-covenant blessing, baptism was therefore eminently the sign; and it represented "the pouring out" of the Spirit, "the descending" of the Spirit, the "falling" of the Spirit "upon men," by the mode in which it was administered, the pouring of water from above upon the subjects baptized. As a seal, also, or confirming sign, baptism answers to circumcision.
Infant baptism, in Methodism, is celebrated as "an acceptance of the prevenient grace of God and as a confession on the part of the church of its responsibility for children in general and for every child in particular." Methodists teach that people receive justifying grace, which is integral to salvation, after they repent and personally accept Jesus as Saviour. Many Methodist denominations, such as the Free Methodist Church and Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection, practice infant baptism for families who desire it for their children, but provide a rite for child dedication for those who have a preference for credobaptism only after their child has made a personal acceptance of Jesus as his/her saviour.
Presbyterian, Congregational and Reformed Churches
Presbyterian, Congregational and Reformed Christians believe that baptism, whether of infants or adults, is a "sign and seal of the covenant of grace", and that baptism admits the party baptised into the visible church. Being a member of the visible church does not guarantee salvation; though it does provide the child with many benefits, including that of one's particular congregation consenting to assist in the raising of that child in "the way he should go, (so that) when he is old he will not turn from it". Elect infants (those predestined for salvation) who die in infancy are by faith considered regenerate on the basis of God's covenant promises in the covenant of grace.
Presbyterian, Congregational and many Reformed Christians see infant baptism as the New Testament form of circumcision in the Jewish covenant (Joshua 24:15). Circumcision did not create faith in the 8-day-old Jewish boy. It merely marked him as a member of God's covenant people Israel. Likewise, baptism doesn't create faith; it is a sign of membership in the visible covenant community.
Presbyterian, Congregational and Reformed Christians consider children of professing Christians to be members of the visible Church (the covenant community). They also consider them to be full members of the local congregation where their parents are members and members of the universal Church (the set of all true believers who make up the invisible church) unless and until they prove otherwise. Baptism is the mark of membership in the covenant of grace and in the universal church, although regeneration is not inseparably connected with baptism.
In many Presbyterian churches, one of the questions that is asked the parents during infant baptism is: "Do you unreservedly dedicate your child to God?" Thus, for them, infant baptism includes child dedication. This essentially makes it dedicati0n baptism, which is something different from adult or believer's baptism.
The Unitarian and Free Christian Churches of Great Britain perform Baptisms (Christenings) and consider this to be an important rite of passage.
Contrasts between infant and adult baptism
Christians disagree about infant baptism because they disagree about the nature of faith, the role of baptism, the means of salvation, the nature of grace, and the function of the sacraments. Pedobaptism and credobaptism are positions which bubble up from theological views at a more fundamental level of one's theological system.
- If baptism is a sign that a person is a member of God's covenant community, and if the children of believers are members of that community, it follows that the children of believers should receive the sign that they are members of God's covenant community by being baptised, as an infant is entitled to a passport that indicates the child as a member of a particular country.
- Believers and the children of believers become members of God's covenant community (or church) through baptism.
- It is believed by some Christians that in the heart of a baptised child, faith as a gift or grace from God, as distinct from an act by the person, is made present.
- It is believed by some Christians that baptism is not merely a symbol and that it has a real effect, conveying divine grace.
Arguments for infant baptism
Paedobaptists do not completely agree on the reasons for baptising infants, and offer different reasons in support of the practice. Among the arguments made in support of the practice are:
- Analogy with circumcision: Some paedobaptists posit an analogy of baptism to circumcision, pointing to children, since the historic Israelite application of circumcision was to infants, not to adult converts, of which there were few. Covenant theology identifies baptism less as a statement of faith than as an assumption of identity; that is to say that infant baptism is a sign of covenantal inclusion. Assuming that what God instituted in the Old Testament continues unless the New Testament specifically abrogates it, including infants in the giving of the sign of the covenant must continue in the New Covenant. It is especially so if the practice is an important one.
- Jesus' affirmation: According to Luke 18:15-17, when parents brought their babies to Jesus, the disciples tried to prevent them from coming. Jesus becomes indignant and says, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." This seems to confirm that infants can have a personal relationship with Jesus just as parents can have a personal relationship with their babies. More importantly, Jesus confirms that babies of believers belong to the kingdom of God. In other words, babies of believers are counted as believers, not unbelievers. Therefore, Jesus specifically instructs not to hinder them.
- Peter's speech: According to the Book of Acts, "Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.'" (Acts 2:38–39, NIV–UK, emphasis added) The United Methodist Church argues that the phrase "every one of you" recalls the use of the same phrase in Deuteronomy 29:10–12, where there is explicit mention of the "little ones" present; and it takes the phrase "and your children" to mean that Peter included children in the covenant community.
- Early Christian practice: Several early Church Fathers seem to have taught that infant baptism is proper; Origen states that the practice of baptising infants is of apostolic origin.
Arguments against infant baptism
- Infants cannot repent or believe: Baptism in Scripture always has the prerequisite of repentance and faith, which are impossible for an infant.
- Baptism only for believers: The Lord's Supper and Baptism are both sacraments or ordinances and are the same sign and seal, since the Lord's Supper may not be given to unbelievers, neither should baptism. Matthew 28:19 (the "them" are disciples) and 1 Corinthians 11:27–30 (believers are to examine themselves).
- No scriptural instances: There are no explicit instances of infant baptism in the scripture
Denominations and religious groups opposed to paedobaptism
Several nontrinitarian religious groups also oppose infant baptism, including Oneness Pentecostals, Christadelphians, Jehovah's Witnesses, United Church of God, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
B.R. White describes the motivations behind persecution of the Anabaptists during the Reformation as follows:
Other Christians saw the baptism of each new-born baby into the secular parish community and close links between church and state as the divinely-ordained means of holding society together. Hence many other Christians saw the Anabaptists as subversive of all order. Consequently, from the earliest days, they were sharply persecuted and leaders were soon executed.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) completely rejects infant baptism. Little children are considered both born without sin and incapable of committing sin. They have no need of baptism until age eight, when they can begin to learn to discern right from wrong, and are thus accountable to God for their own actions. However, the LDS Church performs a non-saving ordinance to name and bless children, customarily performed on infants.
For Roman Catholic and Methodist Christians, Confirmation "strengthens" (the original meaning of the word "confirm") the grace of Baptism, by conferring an increase and deepening of that grace.
In Eastern Christianity, including the Eastern Catholic Churches, the sacrament of Confirmation is conferred immediately after baptism, and there is no renewal of baptismal promises. In the Latin-Rite (i.e. Western) Catholic Church, the sacrament is to be conferred at about the age of discretion (generally taken to be about 7), unless the Episcopal Conference has decided on a different age, or there is danger of death or, in the judgement of the minister, a grave reason suggests otherwise (canon 891 of the Code of Canon Law). The renewal of baptismal promises by those receiving the sacrament in the Western Catholic Church is incidental to the rite and not essentially different from the solemn renewal of their baptismal promises that is asked of all members of this Church each year at the Easter Vigil service. Only in French-speaking countries has there been a development of ceremonies, quite distinct from the sacrament of Confirmation, for young Catholics to profess their faith publicly, in line with their age.
Within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, confirmation or "the laying on of hands" is an essential part of the baptismal ordinance, and to receive baptism without confirmation is to leave the ordinance incomplete. Confirmation is the conferring of the gift of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion. To confirm means to "make more sure" and the ordinance of confirmation stands as a witness of the individual becoming a member of the LDS Church and not just an acceptance of Jesus.
Secular opposition to infant baptism
According to legal professor and former Irish president Mary McAleese, as outlined in her doctoral thesis, infant baptism amounts to "enforced membership of the Catholic Church", which violates fundamental rights of children. These "infant conscripts (...) are held to lifelong obligations of obedience" without their understanding or consent. "Parents can guide and direct [their children] but they can't impose, and what the church has failed to do is to recognise that there has to be a point at which our young people, as adults who have been baptised into the church and raised in the faith, have the chance to say ‘I validate this’ or ‘I repudiate this’. You and I know, we live now in times where we have the right to freedom of conscience, freedom of belief, freedom of opinion, freedom of religion and freedom to change religion. The Catholic Church yet has to fully embrace that thinking."
- Believer's baptism
- Sacraments of initiation
- Infant communion
- William Wall (theologian)
- "The Baptism Service". Church of England. Archived from the original on 16 July 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2007.
Q. What's the difference between a baptism and a christening?
A. None, they are just different words for the same thing.
- "Can I have my infant christened?". United Methodist Church. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2007.
Christening is not a separate or different service. It is the same thing as baptism.
- b777 (12 June 2009). "What is credobaptism?". carm.org. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "Catechism of the Catholic Church, How is the Sacrament of Baptism Celebrated?". The Holy See. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
- Manns, Peter; Meyer, Harding (1984). Luther's Ecumenical Significance: An Interconfessional Consultation. Fortress Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-8006-1747-9.
When modern Methodists expound infant baptism, they think first of " prevenient grace,” for which infant baptism is said to be an effective, or at least a useful, sign.
- "Baptism of Infants".
- "Baptism and Communion". United Church of Canada. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
- Ljthriepland (3 March 2019). "In the name of the father, son and the holy spirit. Matthew 28-19". Follow In Truth. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- MacFarlane, John (2020). "The Tradition of Naval Baptism As Carried Out at HMCS Cataraqui". www.nauticapedia.ca. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
- Stanley J. Grenz, Theology for the Community of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), 528
- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion Archived 17 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine; Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D.; Jordan Bajis Archived 19 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine,
- "the Didache, the earliest surviving 'pastoral manual' of the Christian church" (Fuller Seminary Bookstore Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine)
- "Chapter 7, "Concerning Baptism."
- "Before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before" (Didache, 7)
- The 1980 Instruction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith states that "Many inscriptions from as early as the second century give little children the title of 'children of God', a title given only to the baptised, or explicitly mention that they were baptised: cf., for example, Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, 9727, 9801, 9817; E. Diehl, Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres (Berlin 1961), nos. 1523(3), 4429A."
- Walker, W. (1919). A History of the Christian Church. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p.95
- Schaff, Philip (2001) [c. 1885] "Introductory Note to Irenæus Against Heresies", Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume I, Against Heresies, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
- "For He came to save all through means of Himself—all, I say, who through Him are born again to God—infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men. He therefore passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, thus sanctifying infants; a child for children, thus sanctifying those who are of this age, being at the same time made to them an example of piety, righteousness, and submission; a youth for youths, becoming an example to youths, and thus sanctifying them for the Lord. So likewise He was an old man for old men, that He might be a perfect Master for all, not merely as respects the setting forth of the truth, but also as regards age, sanctifying at the same time the aged also, and becoming an example to them likewise. Then, at last, He came on to death itself, that He might be "the first-born from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence," the Prince of life, existing before all, and going before all." Irenaeus of Lyons. (1885). Irenæus against Heresies. In A. Roberts, J. Donaldson, & A. C. Coxe (Eds.), The Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus (Vol. 1, p. 391). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.
- Against Hereses Archived 20 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine, 2.22.4.
- The three passages identified by scholars are Homilies on Leviticus 8.3.11; Commentary on Romans 5.9; and Homily on Luke 14.5. They are mentioned, for instance, in the following sites: 1, 2, 3 Archived 19 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine 4 Archived 16 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine, 5, 6 Archived 16 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine and, of course, in the sites that give the full texts of Origen on Leviticus and Luke.
- The first passage cited has: "Baptism according to the practice of the Church is given even to infants"; the second has: "The Church had a tradition from the Apostles, to give baptism even to infants"; the third has: "Infants are baptised for the remission of sins . . . That is the reason why infants too are baptised".
- "The delay of baptism is preferable; principally, however, in the case of little children. For why is it necessary . . . that the sponsors likewise should be thrust into danger? . . . For no less cause must the unwedded also be deferred—in whom the ground of temptation is prepared, alike in such as never were wedded by means of their maturity, and in the widowed by means of their freedom—until they either marry, or else be more fully strengthened for continence" ( 18).
- "The children shall be baptised first. All of the children who can answer for themselves, let them answer. If there are any children who cannot answer for themselves, let their parents answer for them, or someone else from their family. After this, the men will be baptised. Finally, the women" (The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome Archived 8 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine 21.4–5).
- "Infant Baptism: Scriptural and Reasonable". Archived from the original on 9 May 2008.; What does the Bible teach about the subject of baptising of infants? by Don Matzat Archived 11 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine; Infant Baptism in Early Church History Archived 8 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine; Christian Heresies of the Sixteenth Century
- "Fact Check: Is This Video of a Baby Being Violently Dunked in Water Real?". Snopes. 21 September 2018. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
- Woo, Megan (23 January 2017). "Video of baptism in the country of Georgia going viral". nbc12.com. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
- Woods, Mark (14 May 2018). "Extreme baptism: Does this Orthodox priest go too far?". Christian Today. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
- Will Stewart & Kelly-Ann Mills (13 December 2018). "'Priest from hell' violently baptises screaming baby because 'Satan is in her'". The Mirror. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
- Wharton, Jane (13 August 2019). "Mum stops 'sadist' priest at baby son's baptism". Metro. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
- Tasos Kokkinidis (20 October 2020). "Greek Orthodox Priest is Accused of Injuring Baby During Baptism". Greek Reporter. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
- "Watch: 'He hit my baby!' - Priest accused of injuring baby during violent baptism". New Zealand Herald. 21 October 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
- Evie Andreou (20 October 2020). "Mother says will sue priest for rough handling during christening (with video)". Cyprus Mail. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
- AFP (4 February 2021). "Orthodox Church under fire in Romania after baby dies following baptism". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
- Stephen McGrath (5 February 2021). "Romania baptisms: Six-week-old baby's death sparks calls for change". BBC News. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
- Genesis 17:10–14.
- Salter, Martin (April 2010). "Does Baptism Replace Circumcision? An Examination of the Relationship between Circumcision and Baptism in Colossians" (PDF). Themelios: 15–29.
- White, BR, Handbook to Christian Belief, Eerdman's, p. 443.
- Crow, Madison; Zori, Colleen; Zori, Davide (17 December 2020). "Doctrinal and Physical Marginality in Christian Death: The Burial of Unbaptized Infants in Medieval Italy". Religions. 11 (12): 1. doi:10.3390/rel11120678. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
- Code of Canon Law, canon 867.
- "Catechism of the Catholic Church - PART 2 SECTION 2 CHAPTER 1 ARTICLE 1". www.scborromeo.org.
- "ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus - Christian Classics Ethereal Library". www.ccel.org.
- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "Instruction on Infant Baptism". www.catholicculture.org.
- "The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1250).
- "Catechism of the Catholic Church - PART 2 SECTION 2 CHAPTER 1 ARTICLE 1". www.scborromeo.org.
- "Catechism". www.usccb.org.
- Instruction on Infant Baptism Archived 20 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Instruction, Part II
- Instruction, 28
- Instruction, 30–31
- Jacobs, Bruno (2019). Le baptême des petits enfants dans une société déchristianisée. Switzerland: Parole et Silence. pp. 210–231, 433–515.
- "Catechism of the Catholic Church - IntraText". www.vatican.va.
- Rite of Baptism of Children, 86
- John Henry Parker; et al. (1844). "The Epistles of S. Cyprian, with the Council of Carthage, on the Baptism". Oxford, London. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Ware, Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) (1964). The Orthodox Church. New York: Penguin Books. p. 284.
- "Sacrament of Holy Baptism – Circumcision". WELS Topical Q&A. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- "Infant Baptism". WELS Topical Q&A. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
In baptism, however, we do not do something for God, rather he does something for us and in us. He works to either create or to strengthen faith. It is true that neither baptism nor the proclamation of the gospel will benefit anyone apart from faith. However, through the proclamation of the gospel and through baptism the Holy Spirit works faith. The means of grace have the power to create the faith they require.
- Colossians 2:11–12, quoted by Otto, Joel D., Alive in Christ Archived 29 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine, pp 9–11
- See "Baptism and Its Purpose" Archived 6 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- "The Small Catechism - Book of Concord". www.bookofconcord.org.
- "See "Luther's Large Catechism" subsection "Of Infant Baptism"".
- Stuart, George Rutledge; Chappell, Edwin Barfield (1922). What Every Methodist Should Know. Lamar & Barton. p. 83.
- Summers, Thomas Osmond (1857). Methodist Pamphlets for the People. E. Stevenson & F. A. Owen for the M. E. Church, South. p. 18.
- Methodist Review, Volume 101. G. Lane & P. B. Sandford. 1918. p. 464.
- "God's Preparing, Accepting, and Sustaining Grace". The United Methodist Church GBGM. Archived from the original on 9 January 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2007.
- "Baptism and Dedication". Free Methodist Church. 3 December 2008.
When they baptize babies, pastors should make sure that their prayers include clear requests that God will bring the children to a personal faith that “owns” what the parents are promising at a time when the children (who “belong” from day one) cannot act for themselves. And when they dedicate children, pastors should make sure that their prayers include clear gratitude to God for the fact that he is already at work in the life of that child, who already “belongs” in the Christian community. Here’s what must be stressed: whether at the time of baptism (in the adult baptism tradition) or at the time of confirmation when the vows made earlier by the parents are personally “owned” (in the infant baptism tradition), it is faith in Jesus (dependent trust, not mere cognitive affirmation) that is crucial. Paul goes so far as to say that without faith and obedience, the old rite of circumcision has no value (Romans 2:25). The same is true of baptism. With either rite, clear evangelistic follow-through is crucial.
- The Discipline of the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection (Original Allegheny Conference). Salem: Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection. 2014. pp. 140–146.
- Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 28, Section 1.
- Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 10, Section 3.
- DeYoung, Kevin. "A Brief Defense of Infant Baptism". The Gospel Coalition. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
- Westminster Confession, Chapter 28, Section 1 and especially section 3. Baptised people are considered part of the covenant of grace by faith unless they prove otherwise by committing apostasy.
- http://www.crossroadspca.net/parental-vows-for-children-at-baptism/. Missing or empty
- Calvin asked: "If the children of believers are partakers of the covenant without the help of understanding, there is no reason why they should be barred from the sign merely because they cannot swear to the provisions of the covenant" (Inst. 4, 16, 24, quoted in John Calvin: Infant Baptism)
- "If baptism was demanded of the Jews as a prerequisite of church membership, we may reasonably conclude that the Gentiles were not admitted to the privilege except on the same condition" (Baptism a Condition of Church Membership).
- "When an infant is baptised God creates faith in the heart of that infant. This faith cannot yet, of course, be expressed or articulated, yet it is real and present all the same (see e.g., Acts 2:38–39; Titus 3:5–6; Matt. 18:6; Luke 1:15; 2 Tim. 3:15)" (The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod). Archived 6 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- "The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptised sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:
- Enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues;
- Giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
- Allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1268)
- DeYoung, Kevin. "A Brief Defense of Infant Baptism". www.thegospelcoalition.org. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
- https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/does-baptism-replace-circumcision-an-examination-of-the-relationship-betwee/. Missing or empty
- https://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/position-statements/baptism/should-babies-be-baptized. Missing or empty
- Acts 2:38–39
- "Baptism in the United Methodist Church". www.covingtonfumc.com.
- "The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants" (Commentaries on Romans 5:9, quoted, for instance, in W. A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers (Liturgical Press 1970 ISBN 9780814604328), vol. 1, p. 209).
- "Infant Baptism and the New Covenant Community". Desiring God. 14 February 1993. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- Norman, Keith E. (1992). "Infant Baptism". In Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.). Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan Publishing. pp. 682–683. ISBN 0-02-879602-0. OCLC 24502140.
- Eerdman's Handbook to Christian Belief, William B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1982.
- Merrill, Byron R. (1992). "Original sin". In Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.). Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan Publishing. pp. 1052–1053. ISBN 0-02-879602-0. OCLC 24502140.
- Rudd, Calvin P. (1992). "Children: Salvation of Children". In Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.). Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan Publishing. pp. 268–269. ISBN 0-02-879602-0. OCLC 24502140.
- Hawkins, Carl S. (1992). "Baptism". In Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.). Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan Publishing. pp. 92–94. ISBN 0-02-879602-0. OCLC 24502140.
- Warner, C. Terry (1992). "Accountability". In Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.). Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 0-02-879602-0. OCLC 24502140.
- Bangerter, Lowell (1992), "Children: Blessing of Children", in Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.), Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing, p. 268, ISBN 0-02-879602-0, OCLC 24502140
- "Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Quotes, Poems, Novels, Classics and hundreds more". www.bartleby.com. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008.
- "Baptism and Confirmation". The Methodist Church in Britain. 2014. Archived from the original on 7 July 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
- "Catechism". www.usccb.org.
- cf. article Archived 24 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine entitled Redonner tout son sens à l'initiation chrétienne : un défi à relever in Lumière et Vie 270 (June 2006), proposing the establishment of as many as seven such occasions.
- Craven, Rulon G. (1992). "Confirmation". In Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.). Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan Publishing. pp. 310–311. ISBN 0-02-879602-0. OCLC 24502140.
- Porter, Bruce Douglas (1992). "Gift of the Holy Ghost". In Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.). Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan Publishing. pp. 543–544. ISBN 0-02-879602-0. OCLC 24502140.
- McGarry, Patsy (22 June 2018). "Infant Baptism is enforced membership of the Catholic Church, says Mary McAleese". The Irish Times. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Infant baptism.|
- Early Church Fathers on Baptism
- What About Holy Baptism? by Dr. A.L. Barry (Lutheran perspective)
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- Infant Baptism by Greg Johnson (Evangelical Presbyterian perspective)
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- JEREMIAH 31: INFANT BAPTISM IN THE NEW COVENANT by Dr. Richard Pratt (Evangelical Presbyterian perspective)
- Chaney, James M. (2009). William the Baptist. Oakland, TN: Doulos Resources. p. 160. ISBN 978-1-4421-8560-9. OCLC 642906193. Archived from the original on 2 April 2011. (Reformed Presbyterian perspective)
- Instruction on Infant Baptism (Roman Catholic Church)
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