I am debating a protestant on this topic. I have provided the historical case on the issue with the help of the Fathers, however he is trying to use the fathers for his position. I don’t have much time to critique the entire post so I was hoping to get some help from any of you.
The first thing I notice is that Justin Martyr is discussing baptism prior to Christ. I don’t know the background of the letter of Justin so I am not sure what his point is in his writing. Anyhow, here is the post:
Chapter XIV.-Righteousness is Not Placed in Jewish Rites, But in the Conversion of the Heart Given in Baptism
By reason, therefore, of this laver of repentance and knowledge of God, which has been ordained on account of the transgression of God’s people, as Isaiah cries, we have believed, and testify that that very baptism which he announced is alone able to purify those who have repented; and this is the water of life. But the cisterns which you have dug for yourselves are broken and profitless to you. For what is the use of that baptism which cleanses the flesh and body alone? Baptize the soul from wrath and from covetousness, from envy, and from hatred; and, lo! the body is pure. Those who have repented first.
It seems he thought salvation was attained through:
"For Isaiah did not send you to a bath, there to wash away murder and other sins, which not even all the water of the sea were sufficient to purge; but, as might have been expected, this was that saving bath of the olden time which followed26 those who repented, and who no longer were purified by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of an heifer, or by the offerings of fine flour,** but by faith through the blood of Christ, and through His death, who died for this very reason,** as Isaiah himself said, when he spake thus: `The Lord shall make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the nations and the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.
The First Apology of Justin LXI
As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Repenting through prayer to Christ.
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;** Repenting first then being baptized.